Talking about the difficulty of the trek, it is a strenuous trek. Yet with a moderate level of fitness, little bit of preparation, and enough determination this trek will be a success.
The trail takes you through the remote villages, lush green forest, rivers, waterfalls, and breathtaking mountain vistas. You will get to witness striking view of some of the highest mountains. Like Mt.Himalchuli, Mt.Ganesh, Mt.Manaslu, and many more.
The Manaslu Circuit trek is great for those who want to explore the isolated region. This is a novice as well as peaceful trail in the Himalayas.
You cannot do solo trekking in this region because it is a restricted region. So, you must hire a licensed guide or a porter to accompany you on the trail.
However on the bright side, there are many new trekking trails and tea houses opened. This has helped a lot in making the trek easier.
All in all, Manaslu trek is great to those who opt for an authentic, adventurous, and true remote region experience.
Allow us to help you make your personal decision on whether the Manaslu trek is going to be difficult for you.
Table of Contents
The Manaslu trek is widely varied in terms of altitude. It takes you through landscape and terrain that range from the lowest Soti Khola (710m) to the highest point at Larkya La Pass (5213m).
It lies in the northern Himalayan range, the west-central part of Gorkha. The Manaslu Circuit trek is about 177 km in distance.
On a standard 17 day itinerary, you will be walking approximately 15-20 km each day for 10- 12 days. Other days are for resting and acclimatization.
The trail leads you towards Budhi Gandaki Gorge which is a harrowing steep. Thus the first couple of days is difficult. Plus you have to walk a lot of uphill and downhill.
Some days you even have to walk across windy trails and cross suspension bridges over the Budhi Gandaki river.
In places where there are no suspension bridges, you have to cross a temporary wooden bridge (logs) to cross the thrilling river.
The most challenging part of the trek is crossing the Larkya La Pass at an altitude of 5213m. This challenge will definitely help you in recognizing your strength and capabilities.
To take the Manaslu trek, you need to prepare both mentally and physically. Since you have to cover many kilometers it can be quite hectic for your body.
The rocky trails and uneven terrain can be problematic for those who are physically unfit. Thus, it is important that you take necessary physical training prior to the trek.
The Manaslu trek duration depends on the package you choose. It can be anywhere from two weeks or even to a month.
You can add or reduce the number of days according to your preference and suitable schedule.
You will walk through many villages, suspension bridges, forests, rivers and so on.
You will walk for approx 5 to 7 hours daily excluding the rest days. If you are not someone who normally walks a lot, walking for many hours can be tough on your body.
So for that, it is important that you train yourself before the trek by hiking for 3 or 4 hours daily and by climbing stairs etc.
What you need to focus on mainly is building stamina and preparing yourself for the higher altitude.
Weather and temperature
The weather plays a huge role in determining the Manaslu trek difficulty.
The Manaslu trail leads you through six climatic zones. The tropical and sub-tropical zone, the temperate zone, the subalpine zone, the alpine zone and, the arctic zone.
Heavy rainfall, freezing nights, blazing sun, and chill winds are all possible within your trekking duration.
The days are generally warm and dry while the nights are freezing. So, it is important to pack well for the cold evenings and nights. Dress in layers so that you can put on and take off your clothes whenever you want.
Nepal experiences 4 seasons- Spring, summer, autumn, and winter.
In winter, trekking in Manaslu can be quite a challenge. The day time temperatures are warm but significantly decreases as the sun sets.
Thus, the temperature easily drops down to -20 degree Celsius during the nighttime and early morning. Due to heavy snowfall during this time, the Larkya La pass and tea houses remain closed.
Summer season, followed by monsoon experiences heavy rainfall. This results in the slippery and muddy trail with leeches. Added, during this time the Larkya La Pass is challenging. The trail would be difficult and risky too.
The Spring season is favorable for trekking. The weather is clear with blue skies and you will get to witness the striking snow-capped mountains. It is also the time when the rhododendron blooms adding colors to the forest.
Another season that is favorable for trekking beside Spring is Autumn. Autumn is the most loved season and the peak time for trekking. The climate is pleasant with stable temperature and HD views of the mountains.
Hence, planning your trek during Spring and Autumn can reduce the trek difficulty caused by weather.
Altitude sickness or Acute mountain sickness (AMS) is ever present in any high altitude trekking.
Manaslu trek is an adventurous trek due to its great variation. Thus, one of the major difficulty during Manaslu trek is your ability to adjust to high altitude.
The trek starts from the lower altitude of 700m i.e Soti Khola and reaches to a higher altitude of 5213m, the Larkya Pass. And, with the increase in altitude the risk of altitude sickness also increases.
Everyone is at risk of altitude sickness irrespective of age, gender and fitness level. Thus, being well informed about altitude sickness can ease your trekking difficulty.
Some of the early signs and symptoms of altitude sickness are a headache, fatigue, loss of appetite etc.
When you have mild symptoms such as these it is best to rest until the symptoms go away.
Resting and acclimatization are very important while trekking at higher altitude. It is never a good idea to speed up your trek or continue your trek while having early symptoms.
Doing so can worsen your health and can lead you to a more severe condition. HACE, High Altitude Cerebral Edema can lead to unconsciousness or even death.
The other condition is HAPE, High Altitude Pulmonary Edema and the symptoms are short of breath, severe cough and tiredness etc.
When you have one of these, descending is the only option. Thus walking slowly, taking regular breaks and drinking plenty of water are some of the ways that can help you stay away from Altitude sickness.
Also, drinking alcohol is a big No. It boosts the risk of altitude sickness.
Always reach out for help from the guide, porter or the team leader if you have any symptoms of AMS.
This will help you in taking the necessary precautions to overcome it before it gets fatal.
Trekking in Nepal is very affordable compared to other parts of the world. But despite being reasonable, if you are not financially stable, you might have a hard time doing so. It is important to be sure that your budget will support you in making your treks a lot more comfortable.
Also, since you will not find any ATMs en route, make sure you carry enough cash in Nepali currency.
Solo or Group trekking
While trekking in the Manaslu region, Group trekking is the only option. Your group must consist of more than 2 trekkers and at least a local guide or porter.
Planning your trek with a large group can be difficult and unmanageable in terms of your accommodation as well as meals. To sum up, it is best to plan this trek with a smaller group.
Solo treks in the Manaslu region it is not possible at the moment.
Since, Manaslu is a novice and off-the-beaten route, walking without the group can be much risky. There are many chances of you to miss the routes. So, always walk with your group. And inform your guide about yourself from time to time.
Packing list for Manaslu trek
Packing wisely plays an important role in making your trip smooth, convenient or less difficult. This can vary according to the season that you choose to trek.
So before you pack, it is wise to check the climatic condition, weather, and the temperature of the region.
Also, we recommend you to pack not more than 20 kg. This can be for both reasons whether you choose to carry your own luggage or hire a porter.
Be sure to check on the trekking poles, sleeping bag, a sturdy backpack. Personal first-aid kit, insect repellant makes life outdoors a lot more easier.
Some tips to avoid difficulties for Manaslu trek
- Check the weather and temperature of the trail before you pack your bags.
- Pre-book for the accommodation and food along the route. This will help you to get the room that you desire without having to compromise on the facility.
- Do not forget to carry insect repellants if you plan to trek during summer.
- Always stay hydrated. Carry water bottles and water purifiers.
- If you want a peaceful trekking experience, opt for offseasons.
Manaslu trek is a moderate trek and it is possible throughout the year. It is suitable for all kinds of trekkers – novice to experience.
The novel trek is less crowded and exotic. With a little bit of preparation, physical and emotional strength you can complete the trek.
With this, be ready for an adventure that will take you through high mountains and varied landscapes with diverse culture, flora and, fauna.
For further questions and queries, please feel free to contact us. It is our pleasure to guide and assist you in planning the trek and making it a successful one.