The Manaslu Circuit Trek is one of the very best treks in Nepal. Almost unheard of by most visitors to the country, it is a hidden gem and will blow you away with its raw beauty. The trip around Manaslu (8156 meters / 26,758 feet) is a challenging one, though exceptionally rewarding for those who brave the path. Stay in beautiful villages, cross suspension bridges over rushing rapids, and traverse high passes in this adventurous trek.
The Manaslu Circuit Trek joins the Annapurna region with the Manaslu region, and you truly get the best of both. Many guides say the trail is comparable to the Annapurna Circuit Trek, but with fewer tourists. The amazing scenery never stops. From the forests, teeming with life, at the beginning of the trail, to the barren, rocky landscape above the clouds, you will constantly be in awe. Free your mind for a bit on the Manaslu Circuit Trek. Your biggest worry will be ‘where is the next best view?’
After hoping out of the car, the beauty of Manaslu greets us. Pass through Gurung and other ethnic villages and experience their warm hospitality. Because so few trekkers take the Manalsu Circuit Trek, we are welcomed with open arms. There is a saying ‘Guest is God,’ and in these area, the residents truly practice this phrase.
As we climb higher and move closer to the Tibetan border, the population is nearly all ethnically Tibetan and a different language is even spoken. It does not take long to realize that half of the appeal of trekking in the Himalayas goes beyond mountain views. The rich culture of the hills and mountains is invaluable. You will look at your own life differently after spending a few weeks in the various teahouses and homestays along the trail.
Beginning from Soti Khola (700 meters), the trail is almost a continuous climb up the Budhi Gandaki River. At certain points, we must zig-zag up the vertical cliffs that guide the river. The area is home to a number of wild animals, including the musk deer, and even the snow leopard higher in the alpine territory.
At last, we reach the Larkya La (Pass). At 5135 meters / 16,847 feet, it’s the highest point of our trek as well as the most mesmerizing for most people. To reach it, we walk by four frozen lakes. At the top, feast your eyes on Himlung Himal (7126 meters), Cheo Himal (6820 meters), Gyaji Kung (7030 meters), Annapurna II (7937 meters), and many rugged peaks. It’s a moment you’ll never forget! From here, we descend to Dharapani and then Besisahar. Soon, we’ll be back in Kathmandu for the farewell dinner.
Trekking is possible throughout the year, but Spring (March to May) and Autumn (September to November) provide the best weather. During the Spring, there is a bit more color and the rhododendrons are blooming, and in the Autumn months, the skies are generally clearer. During the monsoon season, though, there are fewer tourists. Each season has its perks. The Manaslu Circuit Trek requires moderate fitness or acclimatization to avoid acute mountain sickness.