Embark on a journey less traveled, where the rhythm of your footsteps effortlessly echoes in harmony with the majestic Himalayan landscapes. Welcome to the realm of the Pokhara to Manaslu Circuit Trek, a captivating adventure that gradually unfolds the breathtaking beauty of the World’s eighth-highest peak, Mount Manaslu. Lace-up your boots and take that first step into the awe-inspiring scenery and cultural wonders as this blog guides you through the intricate details and fascinating nuances of this enchanting trek.

Much like the whispered secrets of the mountains, the Pokhara to Manaslu Circuit Trek extends an invitation to discover its hidden gems and less-trodden trails. In a land where every step unfolds a captivating story and every panorama paints a masterpiece, this journey stands apart, offering a distinctive charm and tranquility amid the majestic Nepalese Himalayas. On this adventure, let the allure of untouched beauty and serene landscapes guide us through a truly unique exploration.

Join us in exploring soul-stirring landscapes, where we provide insights on optimal times to witness snow-capped peaks and guide you through the necessary permits for your journey. Whether you are a seasoned trekker seeking a new challenge or a nature enthusiast craving an authentic Himalayan experience, this blog serves as your gateway to the Pokhara to Manaslu Circuit Trek. Here, every step is an adventure, and each moment is filled with the most breathtaking mountain views.

Join us as we delve into the soul-stirring landscapes, share insights on the best times to witness the snow-capped peaks, and guide you through the necessary permits for a comfortable journey. 

 

About Manaslu Circuit Trek

Nestled in the heart of the Gorkha District of Nepal, the Manaslu Circuit Trek unfolds its captivating narrative against the backdrop of (Mount Manaslu) the world’s eighth-highest mountain. This trekking odyssey commences its enchanting journey from the picturesque city of Pokhara, drawing adventurers into the lesser-explored realms of the Nepalese Himalayas.

The Manaslu Circuit Trek is a jewel in the crown of trekking destinations, located northwest of Pokhara. The region, filled with natural beauty and cultural richness, was disclosed to trekkers and visitors in 1990, providing a relatively undiscovered trail for those seeking a distinctive Himalayan experience.

Route to get from Pokhara to Mansalu Area

The journey from Pokhara to the captivating Manaslu area is a tapestry of diverse landscapes, traditional villages, and cultural immersion. Beginning with a scenic drive to Maccha Khola, the trek unfolds along the banks of the Budhi Gandaki River, meandering through traditional villages, dense forests, and terraced fields.

As the adventure progresses, it takes us through Tatopani’s natural wonder, across suspension bridges, and through a checkpoint at Jagat, marking the entrance to the restricted Manaslu Region. Continuing, the trail winds through Philim, a Gurung village, and further, through Dyang, Bhim Phedi, and Ghap, revealing landslides and occasional glimpses of wildlife.

Upon reaching Namrung, where Buddhist monasteries and views of Gorkha Himal captivate, the trek unfolds through picturesque villages like Sho, Lho Gaun, and Shyala, where Tibetan influences manifest in Mani walls and vibrant traditions. Samagaun becomes a respite for trekkers, offering traditional charm and essential amenities.

The journey then leads to Samdo, traversing extensive yak pastures, Lela Kharka, and Khermo Kharka. As the trail ascends, panoramic views serve as a prelude to the desert-like settlement of Samdo, a crucial rest stop before the challenging ascent.

Reaching the pinnacle at Larkya La Bazar and Larkya La Phedi, trekkers acclimate and gather strength for the pass. At an elevation of 4,460 meters, Larkya La Pass presents a formidable climb, but the breathtaking views of Manaslu and the surrounding peaks are an unparalleled reward. The subsequent descent to Bhimtang unfolds before us, revealing icefalls and stunning landscapes.

Descending further through lush forests and pasture lands, the trek leads to the valley of Dudh Khola. Passing through Gurung Gaun and Tilije, renowned for its apple gardens, the final day of the journey includes a scenic drive through off-road trails along the Marsyangdi River from Dharapani to Besisahar. The adventure concludes with a drive back to Pokhara, seamlessly blending the thrill of the trek with the natural beauty of the Nepalese landscapes.

 

Highlights of the Trek

The Pokhara to Manaslu Circuit Trek transcends the ordinary, it is not just a journey but a symphony of breathtaking moments and awe-inspiring landscapes. As you gracefully traverse this isolated trek in the majestic Himalayas of Nepal, a myriad of highlights await, seamlessly promising an experience that goes beyond the expected.

  • Base Camp of Mt. Manaslu:

Stand in awe at the base camp of Mt. Manaslu, the eighth tallest peak in the world at 8,163 meters. Feel the immense power and grandeur of this majestic giant, surrounded by an ethereal mountainous landscape.

  • Panoramic Views:

Immerse yourself in a visual feast as you enjoy panoramic views of iconic peaks such as Hiunchuli, Annapurna II, and numerous other summits. Each step unfolds a new view, showcasing the Himalayas in all their glory.

  • Larky la Pass (5,167m):

Conquer the formidable Larky la Pass, a high-altitude challenge standing at 5,167 meters (16,952 feet). The reward? A sense of accomplishment and unparalleled views that stretch as far as the eye can see.

  • Cultural Exploration:

Experience the rich tapestry of Nepalese culture during stops at Nubri and Pungyen Monastery. Discover the tranquility of Birendra Lake, where spirituality meets nature in perfect harmony.

  • Wildlife Encounters:

Encounter the Himalayan wilderness with glimpses of Tahr, Himalayan Marmots, and perhaps even snow leopards. The trek unveils a rare opportunity to witness the thriving biodiversity of this pristine region.

  • Local Interactions:

Engage in heartwarming interactions with locals influenced by both Hindu and Buddhist traditions. From vibrant festivals to daily life rituals, the trek offers a unique insight into the cultural fabric of the region.

 

What is the Best Time for the Manaslu Circuit Trek?

The Pokhara to Manaslu Circuit Trekking Adventure is a fine dance with nature. Timing is key for an unforgettable experience, as each season presents a unique blend of beauty and challenges. Take factors like weather, visibility, and safety into consideration for a well-rounded trekking adventure.

  • Spring (March-May):

Spring emerges as the premier and highly recommended time for the Manaslu Circuit Trek. As nature awakens from its winter slumber, the trails come alive with vibrant rhododendrons and lush greenery. The breathtaking mountain vistas are complemented by favorable weather, with temperatures ranging from 2°C to 12°C. Despite its popularity, the trek retains a sense of seclusion, offering a perfect balance for those seeking both adventure and serenity.

  • Summer/Monsoon (June-August):

While summer brings the promise of mesmerizing views after the weather settles, it comes with its own set of challenges. Accompanied by winds and continuous rainfall, this season increases the risks of leeches, landslides, and floods. The terrain becomes wet and slippery, demanding extra caution. Trekkers should be prepared for expanded itineraries, delayed rescues, and the necessity for experienced guides to navigate the complexities brought by the monsoon.

  • Autumn (September-November):

Regarded as the pinnacle of trekking seasons, particularly in October, autumn unveils its charm with favorable temperatures ranging from 15°C to -2°C in higher altitudes. The clarity of stunning mountain views during this time is unparalleled, as paths become clear after the monsoon. The favorable weather not only elevates the overall trekking experience but also ensures a facilitating environment for timely rescue operations, thanks to the consistently clear skies overhead.

  • Winter (December-February):

Winter in these isolated trails and a distinctive perspective of snow-draped landscapes is an off-season for trekking. As cool winds sweep through lower regions, higher altitudes transform into a serene blanket of snow. 

 

Permit Required for Pokhara to Manaslu Circuit Trek

The expedition from Pokhara to the Manaslu Circuit Trek demands thorough preparation, with acquiring essential permits being an important aspect of the process. This trek is situated in a restricted region of Nepal, necessitating specific trekking permits to explore the breathtaking trails.

Group Trek:

One distinctive feature of the Manaslu Circuit Trek is the requirement for a minimum group size of two people. Solo trekkers, unfortunately, are not permitted to traverse these trails alone. This regulation ensures a safer and more secure journey, as the challenging terrain and secluded nature of the trek warrant companionship for emergencies and support.

Licensed Trekking Guide:

To further enhance the safety and navigation of the trek, the trek must be led by a Nepal Government-licensed trekking guide. This guide has extensive knowledge of the region and ensures the well-being of the trekking group.

Permits:

  1. Manaslu Restricted Permit

To venture into the captivating landscapes of the Manaslu region, trekkers must obtain the Manaslu Restricted Permit. It is important to note that solo trekkers are not permitted, a minimum group size of two people is required.

  1. Manaslu Conservation Area Permit (MCAP)

In addition to the Manaslu Restricted Permit, trekkers need the Manaslu Conservation Area Permit (MCAP) to contribute to the preservation of the region’s unique ecosystem.

  1. Annapurna Conservation Area Permit (ACAP)

As the Pokhara to Manaslu Circuit Trek intersects with the Annapurna Conservation Area, trekkers are required to secure the Annapurna Conservation Area Permit (ACAP).

You can obtain these permits at the entry points or the offices of the Nepal Tourism Board in Lakeside, Pokhara.

 

Pokhara to Manaslu Circuit Trek Itinerary

The trek begins with a delightful walk along the Budi Gandaki River, leading to Khola Besi. Along the way, you will encounter shepherds herding sheep, and a relaxing stop at Tatopani (hot water springs) offers a soothing break. After crossing a suspension bridge, passing Doban, reaching Yaru, and crossing another bridge, the trek concludes in Jagat. The total trekking time for the day is approximately 7 hours.

Embark on a trek towards Dyang, starting with a hike to Sakkeri and a descent to Sirdibas. Crossing a suspension bridge takes you to Philim, a village surrounded by Rhododendrons and pine forests. A junction for Tsum Valley is encountered before continuing to Dyang through Pewa, offering a serene landscape of lush greenery. The total trekking time for the day ranges from 6 to 7 hours.

Enjoy a short hike with the first view of Manaslu, ascending to Bhim Phedi amidst wildlife in lush green forests. The trail leads to Ghap through landslide zones, and a climb takes you to Namrung. The total trekking time for the day is approximately 6-7 hours.

 

Trek to Sama Gaun, passing through Sho village and Lho Gaun. Revel in stunning views of Manaslu and Manaslu North from Lho Gaun before reaching Samagaun, a traditional Nubri village featuring a large gompa. The total trekking time for the day is around 5-6 hours.

Rest or explore popular nearby destinations.

Continue the trek to Samdo on Day 7, encompassing approximately 4-5 hours. Traverse extended yak pastures, passing through Lela Kharka and Khermo Kharka. Descend to Samdo, a desert-like settlement, and optionally embark on a trek to Samdo Peak for panoramic views.

Day 8 unfolds as a challenging and lengthy trek, spanning 5-6 hours, to reach Dharmasala. Traverse Larkya La Bazar, a small market situated at 4200m, and eventually reach Larkya La Phedi, serving as a crucial rest stop before the impending pass.

Begin early on Day 9 for a trek to Larkya La Pass at 5,106m. This challenging climb offers breathtaking views of the surrounding peaks. Following the ascent, descend to Bhimtang, witnessing mesmerizing icefalls and stunning scenery. The total trekking time for the day is approximately 7-8 hours.

On the penultimate day of the trek, embark on a journey through lush forests, pasture lands, and the Dudh Khola valley. Pass through Karche, Gurung Gaun, Tilije, and finally reach Dharapani. The total trekking time for the day ranges from 5 to 6 hours.

Conclude your remarkable trekking adventure with a Jeep drive from Dharapani to Besisahar, taking approximately 3 hours. Enjoy lunch at Besisahar before the final drive back to Pokhara, wrapping up an unforgettable journey through the heart of the Himalayas.

 

Trek Difficulty

Let us now understand the trek’s difficulty level, considering factors like altitude, terrain, and daily walking distances.

  • Altitude Challenges:

The Manaslu Circuit trek offers breathtaking landscapes and a thrilling ascent to the formidable Larkya La Pass. To tackle the high-altitude challenges effectively, it is essential to acclimatize and prepare sufficiently. While a reasonable level of fitness is required for the trek, overcoming altitude-related issues is within reach through a gradual ascent, staying well-hydrated, and incorporating strategic acclimatization stops. These measures contribute to a successful and enjoyable trekking experience.

  • Physical Demands:

The trek is particularly challenging for first-time trekkers. The journey spans about two weeks, and daily walking distances average around 6-7 hours. Trekkers should be prepared for extended periods of walking, making it essential to build stamina and endurance through pre-trek fitness routines.

  • Terrain and Isolation:

The rugged terrain of the Manaslu region involves steep ascents and descents, often along rocky paths. The remoteness and isolation of the trail are limited compared to more popular trekking destinations. Trekkers should be mentally prepared for the absence of creature comforts, embracing the raw and untamed nature of the trail.

  • Fitness Preparation:

To tackle the moderate difficulty level of the Manaslu Circuit Trek, it is advisable to undertake a fitness regimen well in advance. Cardiovascular exercises, strength training, and long walks are beneficial in building the necessary endurance for sustained trekking. Developing leg strength is particularly crucial for navigating challenging terrains.

  • Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS):

AMS is a significant concern at high altitudes, and trekkers should familiarize themselves with symptoms and preventive measures. Gradual ascent, proper hydration, and awareness of personal limits are vital in minimizing the risk of AMS.

  • Weather and Seasonal Considerations:

Unpredictable weather conditions contribute to an extra layer of challenge. Trekkers should be prepared for variations in temperature and potential weather changes. Choosing the right season, such as spring or autumn, can significantly enhance the trekking experience.

Finally, the Pokhara to Manaslu Circuit Trek is a moderately challenging adventure that demands physical fitness, mental resilience, and thorough preparation. With proper training, acclimatization, and a spirit of adventure, trekkers can immerse themselves in the unparalleled beauty and cultural richness of this remarkable journey.

 

Risk of Altitude Sickness and How to Overcome:

Manaslu Circuit Trek is a thrilling endeavor that comes with the potential risk of altitude sickness. While the trek does not reach extreme altitudes, the general route is situated above 3000 meters, making it crucial for trekkers to be alert about altitude-related issues.

To mitigate the risk of altitude sickness, incorporating acclimatization days into your itinerary is essential. These rest days allow your body to gradually adjust to the reduced oxygen levels at higher altitudes. Adequate hydration is a key preventive measure, as dehydration can increase altitude-related problems. Minimizing consumption of caffeine and alcohol is advised, as these substances can contribute to dehydration, heightening the risks of AMS.

Carrying Diamox tablets is a smart move to deal with altitude sickness symptoms like nausea and headaches. Diamox helps overcome these issues, letting you keep going on your trek without much trouble. Also, it is important to eat healthy to keep your energy up during long hikes at high altitudes. Making sure you get nutritious meals at tea houses and lodges along the way is key to keeping your body strong for the journey. So, these steps together make your trek more comfortable and enjoyable.

 

How to Prepare for the Pokhara to Manaslu Circuit Trek?

Here is how you can prepare for the awe-inspiring journey to Manaslu Circuit Trek:

  • Engage in regular cardio exercises such as walking, jogging, swimming, and cycling at least 4 to 5 days a week.
  • Strengthen your legs and cardiovascular system through gym exercises focusing on lower body strength and cardiovascular exercise.
  • Hike on local trails for 2 to 3 hours to simulate trekking conditions and build stamina.
  • Gradually acclimate by incorporating altitude-related activities into your training.
  • Plan hikes involving gradual altitude gain and spend nights at higher elevations.
  • Pack wisely for variable weather with essential items like a quality backpack, trekking poles, proper clothing, a sleeping bag, and a reusable water bottle.
  • Invest in good-quality trekking boots with ankle support suitable for various terrains.
  • Consult with a healthcare professional for a thorough check-up before the trek.
  • Obtain comprehensive travel insurance covering medical emergencies and evacuation.
  • Carry a reusable water bottle and stay well-hydrated at high altitudes.
  • Maintain a balanced diet for sustained energy.

 

Accommodation and Food Option During the Trek

  • Accommodations:

The Pokhara to Manaslu Circuit Trek offers a mix of accommodations, with teahouses being the primary lodging option. In lower altitudes, teahouses provide single rooms with attached bathrooms, offering a semblance of comfort. However, as you ascend to higher elevations, the facilities become more basic. Twin-sharing rooms with a common toilet are common, featuring two beds with mattresses, pillows, and warm blankets to keep you snug in the mountain chill.

The accommodation facilities are simple and add a touch of warmth to the trekking experience. Teahouses often showcase traditional Nepalese architecture, providing a cozy shelter after a day of trekking through challenging terrains.

For those seeking a more immersive experience with nature, the option of camping is available. Whether you prefer the comforts of teahouses or the serenity of a camp under the starlit sky, the trek caters to both adventurers.

  • Food:

Food along the Manaslu Circuit Trek is a delightful exploration of flavors, offering a diverse menu that caters to varying tastes and preferences.

In lower regions, teahouse menus feature Nepalese, Tibetan, Indian, and Continental dishes. Breakfast options range from eggs, Tibetan bread, oats, and chapati. Tea and coffee, served in the warmth of teahouses, provide a comforting respite.

Lunch and dinner menus at lower altitudes include an array of options such as noodles, pasta, pizza, spaghetti, momo (dumplings), and the Nepali Dhal Bhat. As you ascend to higher altitudes, the staple meal becomes Dal Bhat, a nutritious combination of lentil soup, pickles, and salads that is an essential source of energy for trekkers.

 

What to Pack for the Pokhara to Manaslu Circuit Trek?

The Manaslu Circuit Trek requires meticulous packing to ensure comfort, safety, and preparedness for the challenging terrains and varying altitudes. Here is our comprehensive packing list covering clothing, gear, and essential items:

Headwear:

– Brimmed Hat or Sun Cap

– Sunglasses

– Buff/Neck Warmer/Neck Gaiter

– Knit Hat (preferably a fleece or woolen hat)

– Balaclava

– Bandana or Headscarf

 

Bodywear:

– Lightweight Thermal Tops

– Polypropylene Sleeve Shirt

– Fleece Pullover or Jacket

– Waterproof Jacket

– Down Jacket

– Insulated Jacket

– Soft Jacket (fleece)

– Hiking Pants

– Fleece Pants

– Light thermal trouser

 

Footwear:

– Trekking Boots

– Hiking Socks

– Trekking Sandals

– Running Shoes

 

Trekking Gears:

– Trekking Backpack

– Sleeping Bag

– Trekking Poles

– Torch with Batteries

– Duffel Bag

– Raincoat

– Garbage Bag

– Water Bottle

– Face Mask

– Navigation Equipment (optional)

 

First Aid:

– Painkillers

– Cough Lozenges

– Foot Powder

– Skin Blister Repair Kit

– Antidiarrheals

– Altitude Sickness Drugs

– Water Purification Tablets or Water Filters

– Prescriptions

– Sunscreen Cream

– Lip Balm

– Insect Repellent

– Hand Sanitizer

– Wet Wipes

– High-Calorie Snacks

– Electrolytes (Powder or Tablets)

 

Final Say

As we conclude this exploration of the Pokhara to Manaslu Circuit Trek, it is evident that this journey is a captivating odyssey through the heart of the Nepalese Himalayas.

The trek offers a distinctive and less-traveled route compared to more popular treks in the Nepalese Himalayas. Trekkers are rewarded with the charm of unspoiled landscapes, traditional villages, and a serene atmosphere.

The trek takes you through a tapestry of cultures, from the diverse communities encountered during the drive from Pokhara to the traditional villages along the trek. The infusion of Hindu and Buddhist influences adds a unique flavor to the cultural exploration.

In closing, we extend our gratitude to readers for accompanying us on this virtual expedition. The Pokhara to Manaslu Circuit Trek beckons adventurers seeking a harmonious blend of nature, culture, and challenge. We hope this blog has been an informative guide, providing valuable insights and inspiration for those considering this remarkable trekking experience. As you venture forth, may your journey be filled with awe and wonder. Happy trekking!

 

FAQ’s

  • How difficult is Pokhara to Manaslu Circuit Trek?

The Pokhara to Manaslu Circuit Trek is considered moderately challenging. The trek involves high altitudes, with the Larkya La Pass being the highest point. While proper preparation and acclimatization can mitigate challenges, it is recommended for trekkers with moderate fitness levels and previous trekking experience.

 

  • In how many days can the Manaslu Circuit Trek be completed?

The duration of the Manaslu Circuit Trek typically ranges from 11 to 18 days, depending on the chosen itinerary and trekking pace. Trekkers can customize their journey to suit their preferences and time constraints.

 

  • Which trek is better: the Annapurna Circuit Trek or the Manaslu Circuit Trek?

For beginners, the Annapurna Circuit Trek is recommended, offering a well-established trail, diverse landscapes, and a range of tea houses. For experienced trekkers with technical climbing experience seeking a more remote and challenging experience, the Manaslu Circuit Trek provides a unique and less-traveled route.

 

  • What is the best time for the Pokhara to Manaslu Circuit Trek?

The best time for the Manaslu Circuit Trek is during the spring (March-May) and autumn (September – November) seasons. These months offer favorable weather, clear skies, and stunning views, making the trek more enjoyable.

 

  • Is solo trekking allowed on the Manaslu Circuit?

Solo trekking is not permitted in the Manaslu Circuit, a minimum group size of two people is required. The trek must be led by a Licensed Trekking Guide.

 

  • Are permits required for the Manaslu Circuit Trek?

Yes, permits are required for the Manaslu Circuit Trek. Trekkers need a Restricted Area Permit, a Manaslu Conservation Area Permit (MCAP), and an Annapurna Conservation Area Permit (ACAP). These permits can be obtained in the Nepal Tourism Board Office in Lakeside, Pokhara.