Mount Manaslu, also known as Kutang is the eighth highest mountain in the world and the highest in Gorkha District of Nepal. Its name signifies the mountain of the spirit. Trekking in this circuit was only permitted after 1991 by the Nepal Government.
Manaslu Trek is a restricted trekking trail of Nepal. It is considered as one of the greatest tea house treks and also the best all round treks in Nepal. It lies on the newly developed Himalayan Trial.
The trekking route goes along the Gandaki River and various peaks are visible on the way. The major peaks of this region are Saula (6235 m), Langpo (6668 m), Shringi (7187 m), Ngadi Chuli (7871m) and Himalchuli (7893 m).
This trek offers a view of different peaks including the majestic Mt. Manaslu along with its glacial lakes, waterfalls, floras and faunas. It also includes a close interaction with the locals and ethnic groups living around the routes.
This trek is filled with beautiful landscapes, mountains, Sal forests, subtropical waterfalls, hot springs and glaciers. It includes passing over long suspension bridges, through various lakes and gorges.
This region is a conservation area to highly endangered species of animals. 110 species of birds, 33 species of mammals, 11 species of butterflies and 3 species of reptiles have been recorded in this area. There are also 1500 – 2000 species of flora growing in this region.
The ethnic group here is highly influenced by the Tibetan culture and Buddhism. The region is lined with monasteries, Mani walls, stupas and other Buddhist landmarks.
This trek requires a permit of 50$ per week and trekkers should travel with a registered guide in a group of two or more. The trek starts from Soti Khola (710m) and ends in Syange Village.
Spring and Autumn are considered the best seasons for this trek. This trek is also possible from December until February.
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Is the Manaslu Trek difficult?
The trekking route goes through difficult terrain prone to landslides and rainfall. There are chances of hypothermia and altitude sickness.
There is no extreme danger in this trek. Yes, it is tougher than most of the treks. But, new trails have come up which are comparatively easier and safer.
Completing the trek is a matter of persistence and endurance. You should be willing to walk up to 8 hours or more in a day. Manaslu Trek has higher success rate compared to other treks in Nepal.
Manaslu Trek Highlights
- Drive to Soti Khola from Kathmandu with beautiful views of landscapes and mountains.
- Trekking through Beautiful Sal forest, sub tropical waterfalls and hot springs.
- Passing through Budi Gandaki with many suspension bridges.
- Passing through various lakes and an uninhabited gorge.
- Beautiful sight of Siringi and Ganesh Himal
- Passing through various villages with an excellent view of Mount Manaslu, Himalchuli and Ngadi Chuli.
- View of large glaciers and snowy summits.
- Exploring the Sherpa culture and lifestyle
- Encountering Himalayan birds
- Walk through the forest of rhododendron (Nepal’s National Flower) and pine.
Manaslu Trek Detail Itinerary
Day 1: Drive from Kathmandu to Soti Khola (2328 ft)
Day 2: Soti Khola to Machha Khola (2952 ft)
Day 3: Maccha Khola to Jagat (4265 ft)
Day 4: Jagat to Deng (5917 ft)
Day 5: Deng to Namrung (8626 ft)
Day 6: Namrung to Samagaon (11578 ft)
Day 7: Samagaon to Pung Gyen Gompa and back to Samagaon (Exploration)
Day 8: Samagaon to Samdo (12660 ft)
Day 9: Rest in Samdo (Acclimatization)
Day 10: Samdo to Dharamsala (14628 ft)
Day 11: Dharamsala to Larkya la (169324 ft) to Bimthang (12201 ft)
Day 12: Bimthang to Tilije (7544 ft)
Day 13: Tilije to Tal (5576 ft)
Day 14: Tal to Syange (3542 ft)
Day 15: Syange to Kathmandu
Detail Itinerary for 15 days
Day 1: Drive from Kathmandu to Soti Khola (710m/ 2328 ft) (8 -9 hours)
Early in the morning, we will drive from Kathmandu to Soti Khola. On the way, we will pass through Dhading Besi and reach to Arughat. From Arughat, the roads get a little rough but the countryside view will make it worthy. We will also be able to get a view of beautiful mountains such as Mt. Manaslu, Ganesh Himal. We will also pass beautiful houses with dark slate roofs. After 8 – 9 hours we will reach Soti Khola which is a small village where we will be staying the night.
Day 2: Trek to Machha Khola (900m/ 2952 ft) (6 – 7 hours)
On the second day, we will trek to Machha Khola from Soti Khola. We will cross Soti Khola from a bridge and pass beautiful and dense Sal forest. The trail stretches along the Budhi Gandaki River. After crossing the river, the trek goes through rough rocky up and downs which will lower our speed. We will then reach Khursane and pass subtropical waterfalls. This way is prone to landslides and requires extra care. Passing through rice terraces, we will reach Lapu Besi. Lapu Besi is a small Gurung village. After a few hours of walk and climb of rocky outcrops, passing through Budhi Gandaki gravels, we will reach Machha Khola. Tropical vegetation and suspension bridges add charm to our trek. We will spend the night in Maccha Khola ( a small village on the slopes of the hill). Medical facilities are available in this village.
Day 3: Maccha Khola to Jagat (1410m/ 4625 ft) (6 – 7 hours)
On the third day, we will trek to Jagat passing steep rocky trails. Crossing the Tharo Khola, we will reach Khorla Besi which is yet another beautiful Gurung village.After another climb, we will pass through a natural hot spring in Tatopani. Tatopani means ‘hot water’ in Nepali and the place is named after it. An hour plus walk over a ridge, across a suspension bridge over Budhi Gandaki and again a ridge, we will finally reach Dobhan.
After crossing a bridge over Yaru Khola, we will climb a stone staircase and go down to the river. In Yaru Phat, the river descends rapidly. From here, we will climb the stairs again and reach Thado Bharyang. After 2 – 3 hours crossing the west bank of Budhi Gandaki and climbing over a ridge, we will trek along the river and enter Jagat village. Jagat is the entry point of Manaslu Conservation Area. We rest here for the night.
Day 4: Jagat to Deng (1804 m/ 5917 ft) (6 – 7 hours)
On the fourth day, we will make our way through Jagat’s slate paved streets to Deng. We cross through various Mane walls. We will climb over the rocky ridge to Salleri and descend to the pleasant village of Sirdibas. It is a compact village with stone houses and slate roofs. We then pass through Ghotta Khola and cross one of the longest suspension bridges of the trek over Budhi Gandaki River. After a steep climb, we will reach Phillim. It is a central village in the area.
After an hour, we will reach Ekle Bhatti. From there, we will enter steep, uninhabited gorge and cross Budi Gandaki. The river is at its narrowest here. We will pass through bamboo forests along the west bank of the river and reach Deng Khola. After crossing the river, we will reach the Deng village and stay there for the night.
Day 5: Deng to Namrung (2630m/ 8286 ft) (6 – 7 hours)
On the fifth day, we will make our way from Deng to Namrung. We will trek through steep climbs and dense windy forests. We will also walk through various mani walls which reflect the culture of the places. Then, We will trek through the Prok Village. Prok is located on a small plateau and is a viewpoint for Siringi Himal. From Prok, we will descend to Ghap and pass through charming forests that have a variety of birds and animals.
We will cross the Budhi Gandaki River through wooden bridge above the beautiful gorge. The trail goes down a narrow gorge and less dense forest. After the last steep climb of the day, we reach Namrung Village. It is considered as a good viewpoint for Siringi and Ganesh Himal.
Day 6: Namrung to Samagaon (3530 m/ 11578 ft) (6 – 7 hours)
On the sixth day, we will trek to Samagaon. Going through the beautiful plateau of Bhanzam with barley fields and stone houses, we will enter the village of Lihi. It is recommended to visit Hinang Gompa and Himalchuli range from here. After crossing the Hinang River, we will reach Lho which is dominated by a large Gompa. Lho is recommended as the best place to witness Mt. Manaslu with double peaks and to explore the Tibetan culture.
We then climb through a forest towards Shyala. Shyala Village is surrounded by mountains. The view of the snowy mountains is the best part of this place. We cross the slope draining the Pung Gyen glacier and reach Samagaon. It is the closest village to Manaslu Base Camp. We will stay here for two nights.
Day 7: Samagaon to Pung Gyen Gompa and back (6 – 7 hours) (Exploration)
On the seventh day, we will hike to Pung Gyen Gompa. For the purpose of acclimatization, we stay at Samagaon for two nights. On a hill near Samagaon, there lies Pung Gyen Gompa. We will hike there. After climbing a ridge, we will reach there in 3 hours. The monastery offers a great view of the glaciers. Getting back to the village, we will explore the lifestyle of the locals and experience their culture. The village has mani stone walls. Similarly, thousands of mani stone inscribed with Buddhist texts and pictures can be seen in the village.
Day 8: Samagaon to Samdo (3860 m/ 12660 ft) (4 – 5 hours)
On the eighth day, we will trek for 4 -5 hours towards Samdo and spend the night there. From Samagaon, we climb north to the upper part of Budi Gandaki and head towards Manaslu Base Camp. On the way, we will pass through juniper and birch forests. The trek gets tougher when we start the yak trails. We will pass through the starting point of Budi Gandaki river and enter the Samdo Village. It lies behind a ridge. We pass through many mani walls on the way. Samdo is a Tibetan refugee village located under the Samdo peak (6335 m) and the Samdo Glacier. We will get an amazing view of the mountains.
Day 9: Rest at Samdo (Acclimatization)
As the height increases, we need to stop for acclimatization and our pace decreases. On the ninth day, we will explore the Samdo village and hike to the valley. The hike will be around the trade passes to Tibet. We can also do a trip to the Tibetan border. The trails in the hike will provide us an outstanding view of various mountains like Himal Chuli, Ngadi, Simrang and others. We will also be able to encounter different Himalayan birds like Lophophorus (the national bird of Nepal), Himalayan Griffin and others flying high above us. We will spend the night in Samdo.
Day 10: Samdo to Dharamsala/Larkya B. C. (4460 m/ 14, 628 ft) (4 – 5 hours)
On the tenth day, we descend on a wide trail of the river and climb towards the Larkya La Pass. Crossing the wooden bridge over the Budi Gandaki River will be the start of our day. We will notice mani walls and prayer flags which symbolize Buddhism on the way. To reach Dharamsala, we will cross the Athhara Saya Khola and go along the Larke Khola. We can view the Larkya Glacier on the trek. We will climb our way upwards to reach Dharamsala and spend the night there. Dharamsala is mountain slope with accommodation facilities. The trek acclimatizes our body.
Day 11: Dharamsala to Larkya la (5160 m/ 16924 ft) to Bimthang (3720 m/ 12201 ft) (8 – 9 hours)
On this day, we will reach the highest point in our trek Larkya La (5160 m) and descend downwards to reach Bimthang. The views on the way are amazing including Himallung, Cheo, Kanguru and Annapurna II. Immediately above Dharamsala, the trail becomes rocky and heads through moraines of the glacier. Passing through a beautiful lake with reflection of snowy mountains, we climb further to be surrounded by rocky hills and snowy ridges. We can witness small lakes before my last climb to Larkya Pass. It takes almost 5 hours to reach the pass from Dharamsala.
After reaching the top of the moraine, we head west. The trail drops steeply and rocky moraines turn into grassy ones. We descend downwards through slippery trails towards Salpudanda Glacier and gradually to Bimtang Glacier toward Bimtang. We can witness Pongkar Lake to the west an hour before reaching Bimtang. Bimtang is located between Bimtang Glacier and the slopes of Larke Himal.
Day 12: Bimthang to Tilije (2300 m/7544 ft) (5 – 6 hours)
On this day, we continue our trek towards the Dudh Koshi River. On the trail south of Bimtang, we will pass through colorful vegetation and fantastic scenery of glaciers. We descend downwards to the diverge of Dudh Koshi. After crossing the river over a wooden bridge, we pass through a forest rich with firs and rhododendron. We will follow a narrow trail of the valley and reach the cultivation area i.e Karche.
Walking along the river bank, we will reach the village of Gho and continue towards Tilije. Tilije is a Gurung village famous for brandy. We will stay for the night in Tilije.
Day 13: Tilije to Tal (1700 m/ 5576 ft) (5 – 6 hours)
After 2 hours trek from Tilche, we will cross the Dudh Khola over a long suspension bridge and move past an arch and Mani walls to reach Thonje village. This marks the end of Manaslu Trail. We will take another bridge over the Marsyangdi River passing through several police checkpoints and reach Dharapani. From Dharapani, we join the Annapurna Circuit Trail. We continue towards Karte Village and reach Tal going down the Marsyangdi river trail.
Day 14: Tal to Syange (1080m/ 3542 ft) (6 – 7 hours)
We continue south along the trail of Marsyangdi river. On the other side, we can see the vehicle roads to Chyamche. We can witness the Valley’s terraced fields and villages attached to the top of the hills. We then descend through the forests of pines and rhododendron to Syange. We spend the night there.
Day 15: Syange to Kathmandu (8 – 9 hours)
On the last day, we drive from Syange to Kathmandu via Besisahar. The route is along the side of Marsyangdi and Trishuli River. We will witness the meeting point of Marsyangdi and Trishuli river along the Prithivi Highway. The road is located high above the rivers in gentle slopes with vegetation. The scenic drive to Kathmandu will include rice fields, terraced farms, flowing rivers, vegetation, green hills, small villages.
Once we reach Kathmandu, you will be dropped at your respective hotels. The day in Kathmandu can be spent exploring historical and cultural sites, shopping, leisure.