Nepal, with its breathtaking Himalayan landscapes and rich cultural heritage, is a trekker’s paradise.
The Manaslu Circuit Trek, located in the Manaslu region in the Gorkha district, is one of Nepal’s hidden gems. Offering stunning mountain vistas, diverse flora and fauna, and a chance to immerse yourself in local culture, this trek is a memorable adventure.
In this guide, we will take you through everything you need to know to prepare for an unforgettable journey on the Manaslu Circuit.
Permits and Regulations
Before embarking on your Manaslu Circuit Trek, it is essential to be aware of the required permits and regulations. You will require the following permits:
- Restricted Area Special Permit: This is mandatory and can be obtained through registered trekking agencies at the Immigration office in Kathmandu.
- Manaslu Conservation Area Permit (MCAP): As you will be traveling through the Manaslu region, you will need this permit.
- Annapurna Conservation Area Permit (ACAP): As the Manaslu Circuit Trek briefly enters the Annapurna region, you will need this permit as well.
- Trekker’s Information Management System (TIMS) Card: This card is necessary for all treks in Nepal, including the Manaslu Circuit. Make sure to register at the TIMS counters in Kathmandu or Pokhara.
Timing and Best Seasons
The Manaslu Circuit Trek is best undertaken during the autumn and spring seasons. During these months, the weather is relatively stable, and the views of the Manaslu range are at their most stunning.
Winter and monsoon seasons are less suitable due to extreme cold, snow, and landslides.
Physical Fitness and Acclimatization
This trek is moderately challenging and involves long hours of walking. It’s crucial to be physically prepared. Regular cardiovascular exercises, strength training, and uphill walking can help you build endurance and muscle strength.
Acclimatization is essential to prevent altitude sickness, so plan your itinerary with rest days at higher altitudes.
Manaslu Circuit Trek Itinerary
The Manaslu Circuit Trek typically takes 14 days. Here’s an itinerary in detail:
- Day 01: Arrival in Kathmandu
Upon your arrival in Kathmandu, you’ll be greeted by the sights and sounds of the bustling capital city of Nepal. You’ll check into your hotel, settle in, and perhaps take a leisurely stroll to soak in the vibrant atmosphere.
- Day 02: Kathmandu Valley Sightseeing & Trek Preparation
Today, you’ll embark on a guided tour of some of Kathmandu Valley’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites. You’ll explore ancient temples, stupas, and palaces while also finalizing your trek preparations, such as checking your gear and meeting with your trekking guide.
- Day 03: Drive to Machha Khola
Leaving the city behind, you’ll embark on a scenic drive to Machha Khola. The journey takes you through picturesque Nepalese countryside, offering your first glimpse of the Himalayan landscapes that will become more prominent as the trek progresses.
- Day 04: Trek to Jagat
Your trek begins! Today, you’ll follow the meandering path along the Budhi Gandaki River, crossing suspension bridges and walking through charming villages. The day’s journey culminates in the village of Jagat, a lovely place to rest for the night.
- Day 05: Trek to Deng
As you continue along the trail, you’ll witness a change in the landscape with lush forests and terraced fields. The picturesque journey leads you to Deng, a quiet village surrounded by towering hills.
- Day 06: Trek to Namrung
Today’s walk takes you through beautiful woodlands and offers glimpses of the majestic Manaslu Mountain. You’ll ascend to Namrung, a village known for its Tibetan culture and stunning mountain views.
- Day 07: Trek to Syala Gaun
As you ascend further, you’ll start to feel the effects of altitude. Syala Gaun, a tranquil village, provides a perfect place for acclimatization and is the gateway to Pungen Gompa, which you’ll explore tomorrow.
- Day 08: Acclimatize Day
Today is a rest day for acclimatization. You’ll hike to Pungen Gompa, perched at 4,742 meters, to adapt to higher altitudes. Afterward, you’ll trek to Samagaon, a charming village nestled beneath the looming Manaslu.
- Day 09: Trek to Saamdo
Your trek resumes, leading you to Saamdo, a small and remote village close to the Tibetan border. The shorter walk allows for a more relaxed pace as you delve deeper into the Himalayas.
- Day 10: Trek to Dharmasala
You’ll continue your ascent to Dharmasala, also known as Larkya Phedi, the last stop before crossing the formidable Larkya Pass. Here, you’ll rest and prepare for the challenging pass-crossing tomorrow.
- Day 11: Larke Pass and Bhimthang
Today is the most challenging day of the trek as you conquer the high-altitude Larke Pass. Once at the top, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding peaks before descending to Bhimthang.
- Day 12: Trek to Dharapani
Your descent continues as you journey to Dharapani, transitioning from the high-altitude, barren landscapes to lush forests and charming villages.
- Day 13: Drive to Kathmandu
After breakfast, you’ll embark on a long but scenic drive back to Kathmandu, reminiscing about your trek and enjoying the picturesque landscapes along the way.
- Day 14: Departure to Home
Your memorable Manaslu Circuit Trek comes to an end. With a heart full of adventure and unforgettable experiences, you’ll depart from Kathmandu for your journey back home.
Gear and Packing
Packing wisely is crucial for a successful trek. Make sure to have appropriate clothing for both warm and cold weather. Essentials include trekking boots, a warm sleeping bag, a down jacket, moisture-wicking base layers, and a good-quality backpack. Read more about the Perfect Packing List for Manaslu Circuit Trek.
Don’t forget essentials like a water purification system, trekking poles, a headlamp, and a first-aid kit.
Accommodation and Food
Teahouses and lodges are available along the trekking route, providing basic but comfortable accommodation. The menu typically includes both local and international dishes.
Do try the dal bhat, a traditional Nepali meal, for an authentic experience.
Respect the local culture and traditions of the Manaslu region. Dress modestly, ask for permission before taking photos, and learn a few basic phrases in Nepali.
Engaging with the local community will make your trek more meaningful.
Guide and Porter
Hiring a local guide and/or porter is highly recommended. They are not only knowledgeable about the terrain and culture but also provide valuable support and enhance the local economy.
The Manaslu Circuit Trek is a mesmerizing journey that promises to be one of the most memorable experiences of your life. By preparing adequately and respecting the local culture, you can ensure a safe and rewarding adventure in the heart of the Nepalese Himalayas.
Author: Sujan Pandey