An expedition to Manaslu is an extraordinary experience. You will be spellbound by the splendid magnificence of Mother Nature. In this journey, Manaslu Trek one will come across different stages of natural landscape. The journey to Manaslu includes exploring lush forests and deserted and rocky landscapes. And the beauty of Manaslu lies within them.
Manaslu is a region that has yet to see modernisation and development and still holds its natural and pure beauty. One who explores the plains and rocky features of this region will certainly admire Mother Nature’s wonderful creation and the authentic cultural aspects of this region are equally fascinating.
A visit to Manaslu gives you a chance to see variance in the religious and cultural aspects of the region depending upon the location. In the lower region of Manaslu, you will get to observe the influence of Hinduism, whereas in the upper region, you will see the influence of Buddhism. Manaslu is the gateway to the secluded Tsum Valley, which is popular for its unique culture and of course for its stunning scenery. With Manaslu Circuit Trek, a trip to Tsum Valley is an amazing add-on, allowing you to see even more remote aspects of the Manaslu region.
Treks to Manaslu are becoming very well known in trekking circles — but it has always been rather niche. Only avid trekkers or people who are familiar with remote trekking trails have been there. Any trip to Manaslu is a golden chance to see unspoiled nature and the authentic culture of remote and isolated parts of Nepal.
The trek takes you on an old path along which you will appreciate true Nepali culture and accommodation. You will be guaranteed amazing views of Manaslu and other Himalayan peaks constantly along the route. You will get the chance to observe old societies and their practically medieval way of life as you trek up towards the peaks.
Manaslu Valley has a lot to offer its visitors. From majestic mountain peaks to the grandeur of nature and cultural aspects, Manaslu has everything. Here we are highlighting some of the aspects that should not be missed while doing an expedition to Manaslu.
1. Restricted Trekking Area
Trekking to Manaslu was opened in 1991 to foreign visitors. The isolated trail is now a restricted trekking zone and no one can enter the Manaslu region without official documents, such as a special permit and a local guide. Therefore, not many have had the privilege to explore this region, hence its natural beauty and cultural values have been preserved, pure and intact.
2.Picturesque Mountain Views
Every trekking trail of Nepal offers grand views of the mountains, so trekkers who are familiar with the trails of Nepal might know what’s in store for them. Firstly, the region is home to the eighth highest mountain in the world – Mt. Manaslu (8152m). In addition, this gigantic mountain is a neighbour to Kang Guru, Annapurna II, Cheo Himal, Himlung Himal, Nemjung and Gyaji Kang. These stunning peaks are breathtaking and a pure bliss to see.
3. Larkya La Pass at 5,106m above Sea Level
The climb of Larkya La Pass is one of the highlights of trekking in the Manaslu region. The climb is the most difficult part of the trek but the exhaustion of the climb quickly disappears once you behold the incredible view that surrounds you. Depending upon the season, you may cross Larkya La Pass when it is covered with snow or simply on the rocky moraine. Eventually you will be at the top of the Larkya La Pass and ahead of you will be the majestic Manaslu Himal and the grandeur of the Tibetan border to the north.
4. Forested Trail
Any trekking route to Manaslu passes through a verdant forest. These forested trails of Manaslu offer wonderful scenery to capture on a camera. The Manaslu region consists of sub-tropical, alpine, temperate deciduous and temperate coniferous types of forest. Therefore, throughout the journey you will get to explore a variety of forests. The hike around Manaslu under the shade of dense forest is quite pleasant and you can’t help but be awed by the dense foliage of this region. You will see a dramatic change in the scenery in Manaslu Valley, since the geography of the valley is conical, so all the rainfall gets trapped in the gorge giving it its rich ecosystem.
5. Wilderness of the Manaslu region
The Manaslu Valley Trek is an adventurous trek where you will cross Larkya La and long chain for forest. The trek starts with dramatic yet stunning landscapes that intensify as the trekking trail progresses. As most of the trail goes through dense forest, it is likely that you will encounter the varieties of flora and fauna of the region, blooming and thriving on the sloping terrain. The region is designated as the Manaslu Conservation Area, home to yaks, blue sheep and the endangered snow leopard. The Himalayan Tahr, Himalayan marmot and Pika are some of the interesting animals can also be seen in this region. All in all, on the Manaslu trek, you will get an opportunity to see rich vegetation and an abundance of wildlife.
6. Numerous Monasteries and Gompas
Monasteries and Gompas are part of any trekking trail in Nepal. You will see plenty of them on your trekking expedition. While some of these religious sanctuaries are old, rough and on the verge of falling down, yet, their longevity will astound you. Also, these reflect the religious aspect of the Manaslu region.
7. Mani Walls and Prayer Wheels
Every once in a while, you will come across Mani Walls and Prayer Wheels on the journey to Manaslu. If you observe carefully, Tibetan prayers are inscribed in these monuments. Likewise, some fantastic work of art on the Mani Walls can also be seen. So, when hiking through this trail, don’t forget to look closely at these shrines.
8. Birendra Taal
Taal in English means Lake. Birendra Taal is located in the Manaslu glacier and is a freshwater lake which can be explored with the guidance of trekking experts on the buffer day at Samagaun. The turquoise waters of the lake lie in the shadows of the giant Manaslu Himal (8152m) and offer a great sense of calmness and tranquility.
9. Rocky Landscapes
As much as it is nice to see the hills blanketed by lush forests, it is equally nice to see the changing landscapes. Green valleys gradually take you to moody yet magnificent rocky plains, that bear vast glaciers and offer a strong foundation for the giant mountain peaks.
10. Remote Villages
The region is filled with charming scattered settlements and you will pass many on this trek, having the chance to peek into their lifestyle as you move along. You will notice the trail is thinly populated and villages are sparse consisting of only a handful of houses. Despite this, they have preserved their cultural values and natural beauty quite well.
11. Swiftly Flowing Rivers
Crossing numerous bridges are part of the Manaslu trek. Many important rivers flow in this region, including Budhi Gandaki, Soti Khola and Machha Khola. On this journey, you will be walking over the tops of the hills from where you will see some of the best views of long river trails. Be sure to capture these fast-flowing rivers on your camera.
12. Change to visit Manaslu Base Camp
Manaslu Base Camp is a short hike from Samagaun. The visit to Manaslu Base Camp is mostly set up on the acclimatization day at Samagaun. The round trip from Samagaun to Manaslu Base Camp is about 7- 8 hours. It indeed is a tough journey but the views and the journey itself is rewarding of all the hard climb that you will do. From the base camp, you will off course be blessed with the magnificence of Mount Manaslu and other mountain peaks like Himlung Himal (7126m), Ganesh Himal II (7118m), Himalchuli (7893m), Simnang Himal (6251m), Sringi Himal (7161m), and Syala Himal (6235m). You can simply sit back and enjoy the quintessential ambiance of the surroundings.
13. Side trip to Tsum Valley
A side trip to Tsum valley is beautifully experience. The side trip to Tsum valley is an experience filled excursion of layered scenes going from semi-tropical to unadulterated snow-capped mountains. Tsum valley is a remote and isolated village that has yet to see the glorious development of basic infrastructure and modern technology. The journey entails steep path twisting by horde cascades and thick woods of rhododendron and pine, suspension bridges hanging unimaginably high over roaring rivers. You will see group of cattle creating a traffic on the trail making you wait for some amount of time until it passes. This journey itself is different and insightful.
14. Fewer Travelers
Any trek to Manaslu is wonderful. Manaslu region is quite famous for its beautiful mountain views and the rich cultural aspects. However, the trail is not opted by many trekkers like Everest or Annapurna region. Hence, on the journey if anybody you will meet, it will only be the locals and their cattle’s. Besides the traffic of the cattle, you will have the trail to yourself to enjoy and to adore. Although, the trail is quite popular for off the beaten treks in Nepal, the number of goers are normal thus, no problem of finding teahouses at the end of the day. All in all, it is quite trail where nature fully accompanies you.
15. Trek extension to Annapurna
After the relishing journey of Manaslu, you can extend your journey by exploring the effervescent beauty of Annapurna region. And explore the disparity between these two region in terms of culture and the natural setting of both locations. On the whole, Annapurna is a popular trail, thus you will get to experience the nature of busier trails. Most of all, you get to enjoy the specialties of two different region.
So, these are some of the attractions to watch out for during the Manaslu Trek. There are many more things which you can explore on your own. Similarly, there are various routes to the Manaslu region.
In our next section, we are discussing frequently asked questions about the Manaslu Trek. These questions are related to the side trek around the Manaslu Valley.
Q. When is the best time to do the Manaslu Trek?
The best time to do the Manaslu Trek is in the spring and autumn seasons. The spring is pre-monsoon season in Nepal which falls from March to May. With low rainfall, the weather becomes perfect for trekking in this remarkably beautiful region. Besides, it is wonderful to see these lush and green forests and the blooming pink and red rhododendron flowers make the journey more exciting and beautiful.
Similarly, autumn season which falls from September to November is another good time to do the Manaslu Trek or any other side trek around the Manaslu Valley. It is post-monsoon season so, like spring, there is a low chance of rainfall. However, if you do get rainfall, please be understanding since we can’t control the weather! This time of the year, skies are clear so you are blessed with fantastic views of the snowcapped mountains. We wouldn’t advise you to trek in the monsoon season due to heavy rainfall and possible landslides. Trekkers can consider going during the winter season but we would only advise it to those who are familiar with snow and trekking. If you are thinking about doing this trek in winter, then come prepared with crampons, gaiters and waterproof trekking clothing.
Q. Is the Manaslu Trek difficult? And how do I prepare for the Manaslu Trek?
The Manaslu Trek starts from Soti Khola which is at a height of 710m (2328 ft.) and finishes at an elevation of 5220m (17122 ft.) at Larkya La Pass, which is the highest point in the entire excursion. The Pass crossing day is one of the most important days on the whole journey when you will walk for about nine hours, which is quite stimulating and makes the trek a moderate one and attainable to novice trekkers too. To do this trek, you will need at least 2 – 3 months’ steady training and preparation. You can start your trek preparation by doing activities like swimming, brisk walking and jogging which will improve your cardio fitness. Your target should be to cover 5km in half an hour comfortably by the beginning of the trek.
Q. What is the condition of accommodation on the Manaslu Trek?
Up until a few years back, the Manaslu Trek used to be a camping trek which required a large team and hefty camping equipment. But as the number of trekkers has increased annually, good teahouse facilities can now be found. In the lower part of a teahouse, you can expect to get a room with twin beds for two trekkers sharing. But as you move upstairs, the standard of the teahouse decreases, so you might expect accommodation to be a room where you have to share amongst four or five trekkers. However, this trail is not busy like the Everest or Annapurna trekking trails, so you might be pleasantly surprised. All in all, rooms are neat and clean and beds are set with a mattress, bed sheet and pillows for your comfort.
Q. What is the food like on the Manaslu Trek?
Teahouses provide a menu which consists of a variety of dishes and you can find international as well as local dishes on the menu, so you can choose any dishes you wish. Also, if you have dietary requirements like gluten-free meals, then please don’t worry, with prior discussion with the cook at the teahouse, they will prepare your preferred dish. Likewise, vegan, veggie and non-veggie meals are also prepared.
Q. What is the condition of toilets on the Manaslu Trek?
Firstly, do not forget to take enough toilet paper with you. Secondly, you will find two types of toilets: squat-down type and western sit-down with a flushing system. Bathrooms in teahouses are usually indoors, while in some places they may be outdoors, so do not forget to take a head light with you. Also, if there is a western sit-down toilet, be sure to check the flushing system is working. And in the case of a squat-down toilet, make sure there is a bucket!
Q. Are Internet and electricity accessible on the Manaslu Trek?
Yes, Internet and electricity are accessible on the Manaslu Trek, however you need to pay extra to use them. The cost for these services varies depending upon the location, but as a rough idea, please expect to pay NPR 200-300 for each.
Q. How do I access water on the Manaslu Trek?
If you do not have a problem with drinking directly from a tap after filtering it with a water purification tablet, then water is free. There are plenty of water sources from where you can get pure drinking water. However, we still advise you to purify it before consuming it. Another way would be to buy bottled mineral water or use cooled boiled water from the teahouses. Water costs around NPR 200-300 per liter. Please remember that foreign currency is not accepted, so we are quoting all costs in Nepalese currency (NPR).
Q. Is a special permit required for the Manaslu Trek?
Yes, a special permit is required for the Manaslu Trek. The government has declared the Manaslu region as a restricted area, so if you are entering anywhere from Jagat to Dharapani, you are required to show a special permit. Also, the Manaslu region is not open for independent travellers; to trek in this region, you must be a minimum of two trekkers and have a licensed local guide.
Q. How much does it cost for a special trekking permit for the Manaslu region?
The cost for a special trekking permit (Restricted Area Permit or RAP) depends upon the number of days you are staying in the Manaslu region, i.e. from Jagat to Dharapani. For one week, it will cost USD 100 per person during September to November. Each additional day will cost USD 15 per person. During December to August, it will cost USD 75 per person per week, with each additional day costing USD 10 per person.
Along with the special trekking permit (RAP), it is also necessary to have the ACAP (Annapurna Conservation Area Permit) and the MCAP (Manaslu Conservation Area Permit).
The cost of the ACAP is USD 30 per person, which remains same throughout the year. Trekkers need to show their ACAP from Dharapani to Besisahar.
The cost of the MCAP is USD 30 per person, which also remains same throughout the year. Trekkers need to show their MCAP at Philim. A passport-sized photo is required for this permit.
No other permits are needed.
We hope above information helped you in some way. All in all, the trek to the Manaslu region is a remarkable experience. It is a chance to see the great Mount Manaslu, the eighth highest mountain in the world. Similarly, with a rich environment in the setting of snow-topped mountains, this region is a gift for anybody looking for harmony and satisfaction in the midst of nature.
Balaram Thapa, an executive director at Nepal Hiking Team had a long journey before making NHT one of the revolutionary tour operators in this competitive field of Tourism. He finished his Bachelor’s degree in Travel and Tourism from Tribhuwan University in the year 2000.
He started his career as a trekking support staff in 1998 and gradually earned a status of trekking leader. He has trekked several trekking routes such as Annapurna, Manaslu, Langtang, Everest, Kanchenjunga, Mustang, Makalu, etc. Thus has immense knowledge about the trekking routes of Nepal. Alongside this, he has also organized several tours to Bhutan and Tibet as a tour guide. He has traveled to Germany, France, Switzerland, Poland, Italy promoting Nepal’s tourism.
After earning lots of experience in this field, he wanted to explore his own business ideology. He along with his brother- Ganga Raj Thapa start their own company, Nepal Hiking Team in 2009. He is friendly and works side by side with the staff inspiring and motivating them. He is an expert travel consultant and handles all the concerns of travelers regarding their trip. He inspires people to travel new and unique destinations and implement the same ideology on himself as well.
He started his journey 22 years ago and has immense experience in this field. His passion for traveling has made his 22 years of working journey, a precious phase of his life. And he plans to continue doing this and add more years in it.