The word Manaslu means “Mountain of the Spirit.” It comes from the Sanskrit word Manasa meaning intellect or soul. The Manaslu circuit trek located in the Gorkha District is in the north central area of Nepal. Manaslu offers a wide selection of trekking options for almost every taste.
The current road construction which links Soti Khola with the Tibetan border offers an unexpected advantage for today’s trekkers. You’ll enjoy a stunning alternative trek which takes you on a higher scenic route through Baseri Village. Several Nepal Trekking Experts (NTE) guides are from the area, providing you a glimpse of Nepalese Village life when trekking with one of these locals.
The alternative route avoids the hot, crowded and dusty regular road, leading you through a deep and unspoiled gorge. Because this is an untrammeled, non-tourist area, you’ll experience a home stay rather than the typical teahouse. This meaningful experience establishes a direct connection with local villagers and exposes you to their unique dialect, history, culture and daily lifestyle.
From Baseri, you’ll make your way to Yarsa and then Kasigaun, which offers a beautiful view of rolling hills. An overnight in the massif village of Kerauja affords you a different perspective on this untouched area.
The Kerauja trail meets up with the regular route to Dovan and Jagat. Within two short days, snow-capped Mt. Manaslu will come into focus leading you to a fresh appreciation of the Himalayan surroundings. Enhance the experience with side trips to Pungen Gumpa, Manaslu Base Camp or the Tibetan border. This trek reaches an ambitious 5160m at Larke Pass and culminates in the Annapurna region’s Dharapani.
Reward yourself with this alternative experience on a “trail less traveled” by contacting NTE today.
Day 01: Welcome at airport and transfer to the Hotel.
Day 02: Free day for final trekking preparation.
Day 03: Drive from Kathmandu to Baseri (1100m, 7 hrs)
Day 04: Baseri to Kashigaon (1925m, 7 hrs)
Day 05: Kashigaon to Kerauja (2074m, 6 hrs)
Day 06: Kerauja to Dovan (1070m, 5/6 hrs).
Day 07: Dovan to Philim (1570m, 6 hrs)
Day 08: Philim to Bihi Phedi (1990m, 6 hrs)
Day 09: Bihi Phedi to Namrung (2660m, 6 hrs)
Day 10: Namrung to Loho. (3180m, 4 hrs)
Day 11: Loho to Samagaun (3520m, 3 hrs).
Day 12: Acclimatization day. Hike to either Birendra Lake/Manaslu Base camp or Pungen Gumpa.
Day 13: Sama to Samdo (3860m, 3 hrs)
Day 14: Acclimatization day. Hike to Tibetan border at Rui La (4998m) and return to Samdo (8 hrs)
Day 15: Samdo to Dharmasala (4460m, 5 hrs)
Day 16: Dharmasala to Larke La 5160m then descends to Bhimthang overnight (3590, 8 hrs).
Day 17: Bhimthang to Dharapani (1960m, 7/8 hrs).
Day 18: Dharapani to Kathmandu or Pokhara by drive ( 9/10 hrs).
Day 19: Departure
After a short introduction to your program, you can enjoy your first night in Nepal with an authentic Nepalese meal.
Take a full day to make any final preparations for your trek or simply enjoy the Nepal’s diverse cultural capital of Kathmandu.
Drive from Kathmandu to Baseri (7 hrs). Baseri is situated on a hilltop and offers stunning views of Siringi Himal, Ganesh Himal and terrace farming.
Set off after breakfast on a gradually ascending trail. You’ll encounter waterfalls on this lush jungle walk, as well as the beautiful Ganesh Himal and Buddha Himal. Appreciate the peaceful silence and lack of tourist number as you make your way through Kashigaon to Yarsa village for your overnight stay.
Awaken to the gorgeous Himalaya surroundings. Then continue to the remote Kerauja village, which offers stunning and unspoiled views.
The trail descends gradually toward the regular route to Dovan. This portion of the journey provides a better class of tea houses, but the trade-off is you’ll encounter many more fellow travelers along the way.
Begin your day walking through a subtropical rainforest and a series of small hamlets. Traverse a couple of suspension bridges, the last of which leads to the village of Philim and its beautiful setting amidst terraced fields overlooking the river.
From Philim, you’ll soon arrive at the junction for Tsum Valley and Larkya La. Take the path heading northwest towards Deng. After a quick stop for lunch, you’ll finish your day at Bihi Phedi for that night’s stay.
As you make your way up the valley, the first real views of the closest major mountains come into view with Sringi Himal, Ganesh Himal, Kutang Himal and other peaks. Lush vegetation greets you as the trail heads west through quaint villages like Prok. Enjoy the scenic outlooks there before you press on, up the last steep stretch that ushers you into Namrung.
Today is the day when we hit the jackpot for spectacular views of the mountains as the valley opens up with our approach to the scenic village of Lho. The lower temperate forests give way steadily as the trail breaks free of the tree line and climbs higher into the mountains, 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. After our half-day hike to Lho there's plenty of time left over to fully explore the gorgeous views of Manaslu and visit Rebung Gompa perched atop a hillside 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 short hike to Birendra Lake.
Samagaun is our temporary home for the day as we give our bodies time to acclimate to the altitude, and the choice is a fine one as the village provides multiple choices for day excursions, including a short hike 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 determinedly with the goal of Larke La ever nearer. The trail leads 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 help in 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 Larke La, with snow more evident and the air feeling thinner with each step towards our destination. Another brief hike to higher ground is recommended to help our bodies get used to the altitude and sleep better during the night.
The typical method for crossing Larkya La is to head out 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 Larke La is a deceptive one of constant switchbacks, promising everything one minute and snatching it away the next as one false ridge leads to another. Finally we catch a glimpse of the first prayer flags and our goal is finally attained 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 descent to Bhimthang and put 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 and their goal of reaching Thorong La pass. 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 as you prefer.
Farewell and drop-off at the airport, or the opportunity to join another of our programs.
Wow! These 2 weeks were really tough. We combined the classical Manaslu circuit with a trek into the Nar-Phu valley and were amazed by the deversity of the landscape. We definitely recommend this combined tour. Compared to e.g. Peru or Bolivia permits and the need to hire a local guide sum up the costs considerably but we finally felt it to be worthwhile. Some sort of restriction preserves authenticity and helps the guides to have some income. Rajesh organized everything in advance so we could start the trek almost directly from the Airport. Our guide Ram took care of us perfectly, was preventing us from starving or falling ill with AMS. We will definitely go to Dolpo and Kanchenjunga again with Ram!