Round Manaslu

A wild and remote trek around Manaslu and Larkya La Pass.
The complete circuit of Manaslu (8163metres) must surely be one of Nepal’s best kept secrets. This three week trek around the world’s eighth highest mountain is a remote trail as we trail alongside the mighty Buri Gandaki River northwards. Later, as the gorge narrows, we will rise high above the river on spectacular paths, passing small villages precariously placed on either side of the valley. As we progress northwards the valley opens up to reveal delightful alpine meadows and small Buddhist Tibetan style villages which cluster below Manaslu’s north face. From Samagoan, the most important village in the region, we climb up to the Larkya La Pass (5213m), with spectacular panoramic views of Himal Chuli, Manaslu, Cheo Himal and Himlung Himal. The descent will lead us through the beautiful alpine meadows at Bimthang before we join the main Annapurna Circuit route towards the trailhead at Besisahar.

Detailed Itinerary

  • Day 1  
    Arrive Kathmandu, transfer to hotel and evening free.

    Day 2
    Free day for sightseeing in Kathmandu. You may wish to visit the monkey temple at Swayambunath, one of the largest Buddhist Stupas in the world at Bodnath, or the most important Hindu temple in the valley at Pashupatinath, visit Durbar Square in the heart of the old city where the old Royal Palace, with its intricate woodcarving is located. Outside is Kumari Chowk, home of the Kumari, the young girl who is revered as a living goddess. The whole area is a maze of temples and images. Leading away from the square in all directions are narrow alleys, full of the most amazing variety of shops and stalls. Sightseeing tours can be booked locally. Today there will full trip briefing in the morning.

    Day 3
    After breakfast we drive to Arughat Bazaar. The road leaves the Kathmandu Valley over a low pass and drops down to the Trisuli River. We follow the river to the Dading Bridge, and head north into the hills. Past Dading the road gets bumpy and dusty as we continue on to Arughat in the Buri Gandaki Valley.(Occasionally the road to Arughat is blocked so we may have to vary the route slightly for the first few days of our trek).

    Day 4
    Our route begins by following the Buri Gandaki Valley north. Today is a fairly easy walk passing several small villages and cultivated fields. After a short climb up to Kyoropani we drop down to the Soti Khola. Continuing we camp near Liding. Approximately 6 hours walking.

     

    Day 5 
    We continue following the Buri Gandaki as we climb high above the river through fairly dense forest. Throughout the day the trail undulates, passing several small hamlets and farms. We camp at Machha Khola (fish river), which is a tributary running into the Buri Gandaki. There are a few tea shops in the village selling cold drinks. Approximately 5 hours walking.

     

    Day 6 We cross a bridge at The Machha Khola and follow the rocky trail to Tatopani. The water for the natural hot springs here is funnelled through a few taps in the centre of the village. Crossing the river at an undulating section of the trail brings us to Dovan, where there are a few tea houses. Above the village the Buri Gandaki descends in an impressive series of rapids. After some steep sections the river and trail level out until we cross a suspension bridge at Lauri. The trail climbs up on to a high path and then drops down into the valley, taking us to the well-kept village of Jagat, where we camp. Approximately 5-6 hours walking.

     

    Day 7
    From Jagat the trail continues up the valley to Sirdabas, offering great views of the Sringi Himal ahead. Here we drop down to the river and at Gata Khola cross a long suspension bridge and climb steeply up to Philim. The trail now undulates along the hillside with impressive waterfalls on either side of the valley. We pass Eklabatti as the valley veers to the right. Heading to the river we pass a gorge before crossing the river twice on suspension bridges. Finally we reach Euwa, where we camp for the night. Approximately 5-6 hours walking.

     

    Day 8
    Climbing up to Deng, our route crosses the river before scrambling steeply up onto a spectacular trail high above the river. We pass through some small settlements as we ascend the impressive valley. We will see mani stones (prayer stones) carved into wayside rocks, a sign that we are now in a Buddhist area. Dropping down once more to the river there is a short climb to Ghap (2165m). Approximately 4 – 5 hours walking.

     

    Day 9
    As we gain height we walk through alpine forests, home to white-faced monkeys. From Ghap we have a long climb to Namrung, a large village with a tea shop. From here the valley becomes wider and there is extensive farmland all around where we may see the occasional look-out platform, built to ward off bears. Climbing steadily now, we pass the Tibetan village of Sho and just above the village we get our first view of Manaslu ahead. A little further on we come to our camp in Lho (3180m) where the Tibetan influence is strong. There are mani walls, chortens, prayer flags and a large monastery. Approximately 5-6 hours walking.

     

    Day 10
    A short day as we continue up the valley. The trail climbs out of Lho and follows the valley with great views of Peak 29 ahead. As we pass through Shala village, Manaslu, Himalchuli and Phungi all come into view. Soon we reach the fields and stone houses of Samagaon (3525m), where our campsite is located. Across the valley there are magnificent views of Manaslu. As we should arrive at Samagaon by lunchtime we will have time to explore the village and visit the monastery in the afternoon. Approximately 3-4 hours walking.

     

    Day 11
    We spend the day at Samagaon acclimatising. Those who are feeling energetic can take a packed lunch and walk up to Manaslu Base Camp. Alternatively there is also the village and nearby glaciers close to explore.

     

    Day 12
    The trail crosses grassy grazing areas and climbs gradually up the valley. We have fantastic views of the mountains with Manaslu looking particularly impressive. We finally reach Samdo (3860m), the last permanent settlement in the valley. This remote village is only a day's walk from the Tibetan border. There will be time in the afternoon to look round the village and explore the surrounding hills. Approximately 3 hours walking.

     

    Day 13 Leaving the village we cross a stream to a deserted village called Larkya Bazaar which years ago lived and thrived off trade with Tibet. Climbing steadily we reach a small lodge at 4450m, which is the last campsite before the pass.

     

    Day 14 A long day as we cross the pass. The trail climbs onto the moraine of the glacier with views of Larkya Peak. The ascent is gradual at first with a final steep climb to the top of the Larkya pass (5213m). This is the highest point of the trek and the views are outstanding - a wonderful panorama of peaks including Annapurna 2, Himlung Himal and Kang Guru. Descending carefully steeply over snow and scree the trail eventually eases off onto a path which takes us down to Tanbuche. Further down the valley is Bimthang, where we camp tonight at 3590m. Approximately 7 – 8 hours walking.

     

    Day 15 - 18
    We descend through Tilje and several other small villages before we join the main Annapurna Circuit trail at Dharapani. We now follow the Marsyangdi River south, passing a broad, flat area at Tal before continuing steeply down to the village of Chyamje. Further down the Marsyangdi Valley, we will see other trekkers and teahouses along the main Annapurna Circuit trail. A leisurely descent of this impressive valley brings us to our last night's camping at Bhulebule.

     

    Day 19
    We complete the circuit at Khudi or Besisiahar, depending on where our bus has access to. We then drive back to Kathmandu, arriving late afternoon.

     

    Day 20
    After breakfast depart transfer.

     

Date & Price

Includes & Excludes

  • Profile
    16 days walking with full porterage. Altitude max. 5213m, average 2700m.
    Accommodation.
    3 nights hotels, 16 nights camping.
    Food.
    All breakfasts included, full board on trek.
    What to Expect.
    16 days walking. maximum altitude 5213m, average 2700m.
    Grade C Most of this trek is on established trails and is within the capabilities of a fit and experienced walker. The trek is graded C because there are some long walking days plus a high pass to cross.
    The first part of the trek is at fairly low altitude on quite well-maintained trails - although there will be a few steep sections. The crossing of the Larkya La is over rough glacial moraine and some of the descent is steep. You should be
    comfortable walking 5-6 hours a day, with an occasional longer day. The itinerary is well staged for acclimatisation.
    This is a fully-supported camping trek. We provide tents, dining and toilet tents,camp stools and tables. Staff include guides, cooks and porters. On trek you are woken with a mug of tea and provided with a bowl of warm water for washing. All camp chores are done by the staff, and you only have to carry your daypack.
    Group size and age.
    Min. 6, max. 18, plus leader and appropriate local staff. Minimum age 18.
    Challenging. 
    Fitness is important and you may have to improve yours before departure. Most treks at this grade compare to extended walking in mountainous terrain, but usually at significantly higher altitudes; climate and remoteness can also play a   part. Previous trekking experience is desirable, but not vital if you are confident of your physical condition.

    Walking & Trekking 
    Trips are wholly trekking-focused or simply include a significant number of walking days during the itinerary.

Trip Notes

  • Do I need to take walking poles?
    If you are used to walking with trekking poles then take them with you, as you will probably find them useful especially on the way down. They are not essential though and the walk is manageable without them. It is mostly a personal preference but do remember to pack them as part of your main luggage to be stowed in the hold. If you decide later you'd like to have some, they are available to buy in Kathmandu.
    Any good tips for eating out in Kathmandu?
    Head down to the Everest Steak House in southern Thamel for a mouth watering steak and chips, well earned if you’re just back from trek. Finish it off with a cocktail in the legendary Tom & Jerry bar up the road!
    You can also head to Fire and Ice Pizzeria in Thamel, a great place with casual indoor and outdoor eating which is popular amongst travellers, and locals alike. This restaurant is a great place to meet for a morning cup of Italian espresso, or a hearty meal of delicious pizzas, pastas, ice cream and even a Grappa!
    Is there anywhere to store luggage while on trek?
    You will be packing your kitbag for the trek before you leave Kathmandu, and can leave your main luggage at the hotel  in Kathmandu, where it will be stored securely free of charge. However, as with any destination, we recommend you keep valuables with you at all times.
    Any special food I should try in Kathmandu?
    Momos.
    This Nepalese version of dumplings/ wantons is a traditional delicacy and a must try local dish while you are in Nepal. Momo dumplings are either steamed or  fried with chicken/or buff (water buffalo) as well as stuffed with vegetables for vegetarians and have become the most famous fast food amongst Nepalese and can be found on the menus of most restaurants serving locals and tourists alike.
    Kwanti soup.
    This mixed bean soup is usually served during festivals and gatherings and now has made its way in many of restaurant menus. Goes well with Naan or roti bread.
    Choela.
    This is a typical Newari dish smoked meat (chicken; lamb or buffalo meat) tossed with spices and mustard oil. Easily available in most Nepalese and local restaurants in Kathmandu around Hotel.

     

    On a lodge or teahouse trek, how much spending money should I allow ?
    US $ 40 – US $ 50 per day is ample, but it is possible to spend less (and more!). Meals are usually pretty cheap but extras such as sweets or snacks will add a bit more to your budget. There are plenty of ATMs in Kathmandu, so you can withdraw more Nepalese currency if you are running short towards the end of your trip.

     

    Can I buy any equipment in Kathmandu before the start of the trip?
    Yes. There are dozens of trekking shops in the Thamel area of Kathmandu. Depending on how good your bartering skills are, you can usually pick up items for about one third of the price that you'll pay in the Europe / America and its more fun to bargain! However, please note we cannot guarantee the quaility of anything you may purchase so buyer beware

     

    I have some free time in Kathmandu?
    If you are looking to do something off the beaten track just for half a day around Kathmandu, head out to Bungmati and Khokana. Just an hour drive on the outskirts of Kathmandu and you will find yourself in this sleepy little twin village where not much has changed in terms of construction, profession of people (most are still farmers, woodcarvers and weavers) or the pace of life. The twin villages are 15 minutes apart and you walk through the dirt trails, with farms and fields on either side. Should you have extra time and still want to do something, the Tibetan Refugee Settlement where you can see carpet weaving to a Tibetan Buddhist Monastery falls half way on the way back from here to the Hotel.

     

    Should I get my Nepalese visa in advance or at the airport?
    Most of our clients choose to get their visas at Kathmadu airport. This may mean some time queuing, but the transfer bus won't leave for the hotel until all arriving passengers are through Immigration and have collected their bags. So if you have your visa in advance, you will avoid the visa queue but you won’t get to the hotel any earlier. If you'd like to get your visa in advance, please contact the Nepalese embassy direct.
    Please note if you are staying in Nepal longer than 15 days, you will need to ask for a 30 day visa.

TRIP HIGHLIGHTS

Duration: 20 Days
Trip Grade: Challenging
Best Season: Feb-May & Sep-Nov
Accommodation: Tea House / Lodge
Meals: B&B
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