Slowly taking on the status of the perfect alternative to the considerably better known Annapurna trail, the standard Manaslu Circuit offers an impressive array of features that place it at the very forefront of all discussions regarding Nepal’s finest trekking experiences. The Upper Route Trek offers an even more interesting alternative that takes a rugged and much less traveled trail higher on the mountain’s slopes. If you’re looking for real adventure in a manner that makes you feel like you have the Manaslu region to yourself than the higher passage provides the answer.
Unlike the traditional path of staying at tea houses the upper route requires the occasional homestay, and there’s no better way to immerse you in the local and friendly culture than by accepting the warm hospitality of the local people while staying as a guest in their humble homes.
The trek begins at Barpak, a town of sublime beauty perched high on a slope amidst picture perfect views and exquisite grass-green terraced fields, with the Buddha Himal range as the perfect backdrop. Barpak was at the epicenter of the 2015 earthquake and was decimated by the tremors, yet the resilience and spirit of the people has seen them largely restore the town to something resembling its former appearance.
From Barpak the trail ascends markedly to Mamche at 2800m and further stunning views, then wanders down through green meadows and meandering streams towards the pretty Gurung village of Laprak and a homestay at Khorlabensi, the final stop on the unique trail before joining the standard Manaslu route at Jagat. It’s at this point that the trek enters the restricted region for Manaslu, requiring registration at the nearby National Park office.
At Deng our trek deviates again from the classic route and heads back to higher ground, on and up through rugged terrain and a deep gorge to the stunning setting for the village of Prok. Prok offers up one of Manaslu’s many amazing detours, a visit to Kal Tal (Black Lake) which is so off the beaten trail that we typically have to hire the services of a local guide to find our way there for the full day hike.
The following day provides arguably the most stunning hike of the trip, leading to the village of Lho and the most panoramic and intimate views of Manaslu one is likely to find in the valley – short of actually climbing the mountain! A side excursion to Ribung Gumba adds even further to the exhilarating experience, and if that isn’t enough the unique Tibetan settlement of Shyala offers even more startling views before the trail rejoins the standard route again at Samagaun.
From Samagaun onward the Manaslu trek offers the standard and delightful side excursions during the necessary rest days for acclimation, including day hikes to Manaslu Base camp, Birendra Lake, Pungen Gumba, and the Tibet border Rui La. From Samagaun and Samdo it’s soon on to the ultimate goal of Larke La (5160m) before completing the trek at Dharapani and returning by road to Kathmandu.
We have a particular affinity for the Manaslu region because many of our staff grew up in the area, so it goes without saying that we know the valley and all its nuances better than anyone else. The Manaslu Upper Route trek is one of our specialties because we know the trail and the people so when it comes to home stays and lodging we know who to call on. Drop us a note by email and see what we can do to arrange the details for you, or you can run your own thoughts by us to see what we can arrange.
Manaslu is in a restricted area and requires an appropriate permit, a government registered trekking agency, and a licensed guide to accompany each party. A minimum of two people are required in order to obtain the trekking permit through the area. The special permit costs $100 from September to November for the first seven days plus $15 for each additional day, and $75 from December to August for the first seven days plus $10 per additional day. The costs are per person. Trekkers are also required to have an Annapurna and Manaslu Conservation area permits from the Nepal Tourism Board at a cost of 3000 Nepali Rupees per person including 13% vat of each different region. For further details please contact us.
Day 01: Welcome at airport and transfer to the hotel.
Day 02: Free day for final trekking preparation.
Day 03: Drive from Kathmandu to Barpak by public bus (7/8hrs, 1915m)
Day 04: Barpak to Laprak (6hrs, 2100m)
Day 05: Laprak to Khorlabensi (970m, 7hrs)
Day 06: Khorlabensi to Jagat (1340m, 7hrs)
Day 07: Jagat to Deng (1860m, 7hrs)
Day 08: Deng to Prok (2397m, 4hrs)
Day 09: Hike Prok to Kal Tal then back to Prok for overnight (3574m, 8/9 hrs)
Day 10: Prok to Lho (3180m, 7 hrs)
Day 11: Lho to Samagaun (3520m, 3 hrs)
Day 12: Acclimatization day. After breakfast we can hike around Birendra lake/Manaslu Base camp or Pungen Gumpa etc. Options can be discuss with your guide depending on your fitness and needs.
Day 13: Sama to Samdo (3860m, 3 hrs)
Day 14: One of an impressive day hike to open Tibet border Rui La 4998m and back to Samdo for overnight (8 hrs)
Day 15: Samdo to Dharmasala (4460m, 4/5 hrs)
Day 16: Dharmasala to Larke La 5160m then overnight in Bhimthang (3590m, 8 hrs)
Day 17: Bhimthang to Dharapani (1963m, 8 hrs)
Day 18: Dharapani to Kathmandu/Pokhara by drive (9/10 hrs)
Day 19: Departure
Note:- Above itinerary is just a guideline. If you are not satisfied please feel free customize your own.
Welcome at Airport and transfer to the Hotel. Introduce about program then enjoy your first night in cultural diversity Kathmandu.
Free day for final trekking preparation
We start off our adventure through the Manaslu region with a bus journey to Barpak, a town beautifully set amid terraced fields and which was, tragically, at the epicenter of the 2015 earthquake that struck Nepal and caused so much devastation. The stoic residents have slowly rebuilt the community and its setting is as exhilarating as ever to behold.
Our trek begins with a steep ascent along countless stone steps that scythe through the encroaching jungle on either side, leading us through peaceful villages set serenely atop hillsides with views towards the Ganesh Himal and Buddha Himal in the distance. As an alternative route to the regular path taken by the banks of the Budhi Gandaki our journey through the mountains is a serene one that gives a complete sense of isolation from everything bar the welcome interaction with the local people.
The trail to Khorla Besi begins with a steady descent until we reach a suspension bridge and a path that takes us on to the village of Singla and its glorious views of the surrounding mountain ranges. After lunch the trail leads downhill again until we come to the Budhi Gandaki River and join the main route through Manaslu.
Our old friend the Budhi Gandaki leads us away again on a trail that takes us to Tatopani and its famous hot springs. From there we hike to Dovan and finally Jagat, the threshold to the Manaslu conservation region.
Our day begins by walking through subtropical rainforest and a series of small hamlets, traversing a couple of suspension bridges on the way, the last of which leads us in to the village of Philim and its beautiful setting amidst terraced fields overlooking the river. Further along the trail we arrive at the junction for Tsum Valley and Larkya La and take the path heading northwest towards Deng.
An undulating trail and a series of suspension bridges take us to Bihi Phedi, and from there a junction leads us away from the main trail towards Prok, a scenic village where we'll indulge in the culturally unique experience of a home stay for the night.
A trail takes us through lush forests to the beautiful and rarely seen lake of Kal Tal (Black Lake) set high amidst the local ranges, and after suitable time to take in the scenic setting and eat our packed lunch we make the return journey to Prok and another evening with our hosts.
The trail from Prok takes us back to the main route, and from there we gradually ascend to Namrung and spectacular views of the mountains as the valley opens up before us. The temperate forests give way steadily as the trail breaks free of the tree line and climbs higher, the lush greens of the lower valley giving way to the muted browns and grays of the Himalayan terrain and the vivid blue skies one only experiences at altitude. The day's hike is capped off by our arrival at the beautiful village of Lho and its glorious vista of Manaslu, with the monastery of Rebung Gompa set serenely atop a hilltop nearby.
From Lho we hike to the equally impressive village of Shyala and its own spectacular vistas of Manaslu, Himal Chuli, Nadi, Naike, Kutang Himal, and Pangbuche Himal, then climb steadily through yak pasturelands to Sama Gaun. With plenty of time left over from the day there's ample opportunity to make the quick hike to Birendra Lake.
Sama Gaun is our temporary home for the day as we give our bodies time to acclimate to the altitude, and the choice is a good one as the village provides multiple choices for day excursions, including a short excursion to the pretty lake of Birendra Taal nearby, the highly rewarding and dramatic hike to Manaslu Base camp, or the alternative walk to Pungen Gompa and its serene setting amidst the mountains.
Onward and up is the motto of the day as we put our heads down determinably with the goal of Larkya La ever nearer. The trail takes us on a short and gradual climb alongside the river then begins to steepen as it leads us up to Samdo around midday. There is plenty of time in the afternoon to explore and perhaps hike to a higher altitude briefly to aid the process of acclimatization.
Another rest day to help acclimate, with the rare option to spend the day on a hike to the border with Tibet at the pass of Rui La (4998m). The views of the Himalayas and Fukang Glacier add another level to the day's journey.
Our trek to the high altitude camp of Dharmsala brings us to the very threshold of Larkya La, with snow more evident and the air ever thinner with each step towards our destination. Another brief hike to higher ground is recommended to help our bodies acclimate to the altitude and sleep better during the night.
The typical method for crossing Larkya La is to leave before daybreak, our head-mounted lights bobbing in the dark as we clamber up the path in the cold morning air, our breath apparent in the glow of the lamps. The trail to Larkya La is a deceptive one of constant switchbacks, promising everything and snatching it away with one false ridge leading to another. We catch a glimpse of the first prayer flags and finally attain our goal as we stumble wearily to the marker and pose proudly for our cameras to mark the achievement. After pausing to luxuriate in the accomplishment and take in the magnificent views we begin the hike to Bhimthang, putting our trekking poles to good use to spare our tired legs and knees from the steep descent to the arid valley below.
With views of Manaslu to our left and the Annapurna ranges to our right we descend from Bhimthang through yak pastures to the first signs of the Dudh Khola's headwaters trickling down the slope. A bridge across leads to a path which gradually leaves behind the alpine climate and takes us down through familiar rhododendron forests to a narrow valley of terraced fields and patchwork crops. We reach the small and picturesque village of Tilje, then make our way uphill to Dharapani, the major trekking confluence in the region and modern starting point for trekkers heading out on the Annapurna Circuit. With time and intent we too can head in the same direction.
A long day's driving by local transport to either Pokhara or Kathmandu
Farewell and drop-off at the airport, or the opportunity to join another of our programs.
We completed the Manaslu Circuit Trek via Upper Route and everything about it far exceeded our expectations. Our guide Dal (AKA Daljit or Bisan) was amazing. He spoke English very well (much better than any other guides we met for our entire trek). He was always talking with locals to find out trail conditions (he rerouted us at least twice to safer trails due to recent landslides that he learned about from locals). He is also from the Mansalu area, and knew local languages and was familiar with the local accommodation. He looked out for us the entire time, and even checked on the kitchen to make sure the food was handled safely and cooked well. Dal is also knowledgeable in wilderness first aid, has a good sense of humor, and truly became our friend during the trek. Rajesh responded amazingly fast to our emails and questions. He was incredibly hospitable while we were in Kathmandu, and kept tabs on us while we were trekking. We chose not to hire a porter, but if we do it again we would probably choose to go with a porter. Not only is the terrain difficult, but the additional factors of altitude and a decent chance of getting a little sick at some point make hiring a porter a good idea. We were blown away with the value we got out of this trip. We ended up trekking alongside another group who went through Nepal Trekking Experts and had a very similar experience to us. Besides that, the next best guide service we encountered on the trail cost 4 times as much as we paid! All the good reviews are well deserved. We miss Dal and Rajesh but hope that we can trek with them again sometime in the future!
Warum lange suchen wenn es Nepal Trekking Experts gibt! 21 Tage Manaslu Circuit via Upper Route + Tsum Valley + 6 Tage Bhutan Schon zuhause sind wir auf dies Agentur gestoßen und haben per E-Mail Kontakt aufgenommen. Rajesh der Betreiber hat unsere Fragen super schnell und ausführlich beantwortet und ist auf all unsere Wünsche eingegangen. Dank Türkisch Airline sind wir einen Tag verspätet in Kathmandu angekommen. Trotzdem wurden wir von Rabin, Rajeshs Bruder, vom Flughafen abgeholt und alles lief wir geplant weiter. Rajesh war für uns ständig zu erreichen. Man wird rundum betreut und fühlt sich wie ein Familienmitglied. Unser Guide Thakur und unser Porterguide Resham sind beide im Manaslu Grebiet geboren und aufgewachsen und waren somit absolute Experten für dieses Gebiet. Sie haben ständig den Kontakt zu den Dorfbewohnern gepflegt und waren über alles informiert. Es wurden immer die besten und originellsten Unterkünfte sowie das schönste Zimmer für uns ausgesucht. Auch gab es super gutes Essen und nicht nur Dhal Bhat, obwohl man damit nie etwas falsch machen kann. Thakur und Resham haben sich stets unseren Wünschen angepasst, Alternativrouten genommen wo möglich und immer die beste Zeit für Besichtigungen ausgewählt. Beide waren die besten Reisebegleiter die man sich wünschen kann. Die Schneelage hat uns leider die Passüberschreitung vereitelt und wir mussten umkehren. Bis zum letzten Moment haben Thakur und Resham versucht uns die Überschreitung zu ermöglichen und uns auch die Entscheidung über den Abbruch überlassen. Einfach genial wie Sie immer das Beste für uns versucht haben. Mit Thakur und seinem perfekten Englisch sowie seinem umfassenden Wissen haben wir danach noch eine Stadttour durch Kathmandu gemacht, sehr empfehlenswert und sehr informativ. Über Nepal Trekking Experts haben wir auch unseren Bhutan Aufenthalt gebucht. Rajesh hat auch dort die beste Agentur für uns ausgewählt und alles für uns organisiert. Wer bei Nepal Trekking Experts bucht ist in den besten Händen und kann sich vollkommen auf die Agentur verlassen. Besser geht es nicht! Danke an das komplette Team für diesen perfekten Urlaub. Bis zum nächsten Mal! Anne und Gerd
Our group from Belarus consisting of seven people passed the route Manaslu Circuit Trek. It was an unforgettable event. The route is difficult and extremely beautiful! On the morning of October 2, we left a jeep from a hotel to Kathmandu to Barpak, from where the next morning we set off on a wonderful foot journey. On the way, we were accompanied by a guide Kumar and porters Resham and Ramhari. Each day's transition, one of them walked ahead of the group, the other in the middle, and the third closed it, not disregarding any of the participants, no matter how slowly or quickly he moved. They booked places for us to sleep, ordered food, served on the table, cleared the table, provided us with everything we needed along the route. In the days we spent together, we became one family with our Nepali guides. After the end of the walking part of our trip in the village of Dharapani, October 14, we went to Pokhara, and then on October 17 - in Chitwan. Special thanks to the head of the company Nepal Trekking Experts Pvt. Ltd. Mr. Rajesh for the precise organization of our entire journey. He provided us with not only excellent specialists for trekking, but also planned in advance, booked and paid for all our transfers and hotels both before and after tracking, as well as paragliding in Pokhara. We were all pleasantly surprised by the attitude of the whole Nepal Trekking Experts Pvt team to our work. Ltd. Very grateful to all the guys. Definitely recommend.