If you’ve ever wanted to trek in the Himalayas while enjoying spellbinding, crowd-free views of the eighth highest mountain in the world, consider embarking upon Nepal’s Manaslu Circuit Trek. This is one of the country’s best hidden gems, passing through the wild landscapes of the Manaslu Valley and ascending from lush jungles to high-altitude mountain passes. The unique environment of the Manaslu region represents a veritable cornucopia of pristine natural beauty and biodiversity. This is the Manaslu Conservation Area, a protected reserve where keen birders can spot more than one hundred different species across multiple forest and alpine habitats. The conservation area is also home to large mammals like the musk deer, Himalayan tahr, blue sheep, and notoriously elusive snow leopard. When you add in the spectacular mountain panoramas around every corner, it’s easy to see why the Manaslu Trek is regarded as one of the best hikes in all of Nepal.
While the long ridges and glaciated valleys of Manaslu dominate the skyline during this entire two-week itinerary, there are plenty of other things to see along the trail. The Manaslu Trek passes through several villages inhabited by the region’s major ethnic groups: Nubri, Tsum, and Gurung. Soti Khola, Samdo, and Namrung are just a few of the settlements you’ll explore during the Manaslu Circuit Trek. Traditionally, residents of these towns have practiced lifestyles based on agriculture and livestock; these days, they also cater to trekking tourism. These villages now make it possible for you to enjoy comfortable teahouse accommodation each night, which will come as a welcome relief at the end of a long day’s trek. Staying in local villages also gives you the chance to get an intimate look at cultural practices that have remained unchanged for centuries. For example, the Tsum people have retained their own regionally distinct dialect and traditions.
That these authentic personal encounters are still possible can be attributed in large part to the relative obscurity of the Manaslu Circuit Trek. This trail still represents an off-the-beaten path adventure for travelers who want to experience the Himalayas as they have existed for hundreds of years. As you trek in the 8,000-meter shadow of Manaslu and round a turn in the path to discover yet another timeless pastoral scene, you may begin to feel as though you’ve stepped back in time. But you’ll need a helping hand to fully understand this fascinating region. By choosing Nepal Hiking Team as your trekking partner, you’ll secure the company of a guide who can help you to get the most out of your experience on the Manaslu Trek. Your guide can interpret local customs and traditions to help you connect with local people and their enduring way of life in these remote mountains.
Highlights of the Trek
One of the most spectacular viewpoints on the Manaslu Trek is the sweeping Himalayan panorama you’ll enjoy from the high-altitude pass of Larkya La. Situated at over 5,000 meters, the pass looks out across the peaks of Himlung Himal, Cheo Himal, Kang Guru, and Annapurna II. For many travelers, this is both the literal and figurative high point of their entire trekking career. Of course, more great views can be found elsewhere on the trek: the villages of Namrung and Samagaon are particularly excellent vantage points. But the Manaslu Circuit Trek has more to offer than mountain scenery alone. Ribung Gompa, the region’s most well-known monastery, can be found in the trailside village of Lho Gaun. Inside, you’ll discover a colorful collection of religious artwork. You may even have the opportunity to watch young monks at their lessons. These are just a few highlights of your Manaslu trekking adventure, but they represent the combination of natural splendor and cultural vitality that characterizes this exciting part of Nepal.
Is the Manaslu Circuit Trek Difficult?
We consider the Manaslu Circuit Trek to be one of the more strenuous packages offered by Nepal Hiking Team. You’ll reach a maximum altitude of approximately 5,106 meters, where the air is much thinner than it is at sea level and physical exertion becomes more difficult. However, our carefully crafted itinerary has built in all of the time you need to acclimatize to the high elevation of the Manaslu region.
Our professional guides will also ensure that you are trekking at an appropriate pace, resting frequently, and staying hydrated. You should be in reasonably good physical condition before starting this itinerary, but you don’t need to be a professional athlete. Regular cardiovascular exercise, such as walking, running, and swimming, will help prepare you for the steep slopes of the Manaslu Trek. By partnering with Nepal Hiking Team, you can make your dream of completing this adventurous trek come true.
Best Time of Year for the Manaslu Trek
The trekking seasons in Nepal are largely dictated by the persistent rains of the summer monsoon and the heavy snows of winter. While it’s possible to enjoy the Manaslu Circuit Trek during these parts of the year, most travelers prefer to visit during two of the more comfortable seasons. The first option is to trek during the spring, which runs from March to May. You’ll benefit from pleasant hiking weather and good views; Manaslu itself is especially impressive at this time of year, still cloaked in the snows of winter. Springtime also brings rhododendron blooms to the forested hillsides, transforming the entire trek into a photographer’s delight. A second option is to undertake the Manaslu Trek during autumn, which occurs between September and November. Now that the monsoon has passed, this time of year rewards trekkers with crisp mountain views, cool weather, and fewer crowds.
Is the Manaslu Circuit Trek Right for Me?
The Manaslu Circuit Trek begins at the town of Soti Khola, which is only accessible by road. This means that you won’t have to worry about costly internal flights, and you’ll get a unique glimpse of Nepal’s countryside during the drive from Kathmandu. Once you get started, you’ll quickly discover that this trek is also very much off the beaten path: the region was first opened to tourism as recently as 1991. While you’re sure to see at least a few other trekkers, there’s a real sense of exploring the Himalayas as they have existed since time immemorial.
And thanks to the itinerary we’ve carefully developed here at Nepal Hiking Team, your route on the Manaslu Trek is not a loop. This makes every day feel new and exciting, because you’re never obliged to retrace your own steps. This is a truly grand adventure, following an old trading route through the remote Himalayas alongside the winding watercourse of the Budhi Gandaki River. If this sounds like your cup of tea, don’t hesitate to reach out to us today!