From the Hindu Middle Hills culture to the Tibetan high country dwellers, the Manaslu Circuit, Nar Phu, Tilicho and Jomsom trek in the heart of the Nepal Himalaya is a cultural trek par excellence, without a doubt one of the best treks in Nepal. The spectacular mountain scenery has to be seen to be believed.
Manaslu is one of the newest trekking routes in Nepal, combining two spectacular treks into one unbeatable journey, which incorporates Nepalese and Tibetan culture, and spectacular scenery – the huge peaks of the Manaslu, Annapurna and Dhaulagiri Himal and the remote, glacial valleys of Nar Phu (named after the villages Nar and Phu) in the upper Manang region.
Start date: whole year
Best time to travel: October – November and March – April
Environment (high) mountain
Religion: Hindu, Buddhist
Difficulty: Medium trekking, walking an average of 6 hours per day
Maximum height: Larkya La, 5,120 meters
Transportation: choice between public or private
Arrival and pick up from the international airport in Kathmandu, after some refreshment we will invite you for a traditional Nepali dinner.
After breakfast we will start for sightseeing tours around in Kathmandu valley, The sightseeing program is focused to introduce some highlights and UNESCO World Heritage sites of Kathmandu such as Durbar square, Swoyambhunath, Pashupatinath and Bouddhanath.
Drive from Kathmandu into the western mountains take us to Gorkha, the Capital of Medieval Nepal. A further drive on a dirt road and we reach reach Arughat, our trek start point, The dirt road from Gorkha to Arughat may not be drivable during the monsoon season. In that case, we may have to begin our trek right from Gorkha and reach Arughat in the evening. Arughat is a major town in the region and is divided in two parts with the Buri Gandaki River flowing between them.
We cross the bridge over Budhi Gandaki and begin our trek from the western part of Arughat. After completing with the ACAP procedure, we follow the stone-paved street north through the bazaar. We pass through the hydro- lectric power plant, fields of rice and millet to Maltar, and through forests Sante Bazzar. The trail to Budhi Gandaki valley now becomes steeper and the trek more difficult as we cross the Arkhet Khola on a suspension bridge, passing the shops of Arkhet. Descend to a high, cascading waterfall making a long steep slog up a ridge to Kyorpani. Then from here the trail descends to Soti Khola.
Cross the bridge and trek through the beautiful Sal forests, then climb onto a ridge above huge rapids on the Budhi Gandaki. We then reach to Khursane. The rocky trail then weaves its way up and down, past two tropical waterfalls on a steep, rocky trail clinging to the side of a cliff. It eventually makes its way down and past a few rice terraces, then up and around to the Gurung village of Labubesi. Climb behind a rocky outcrop, where the valley opens and the Budhi Gandaki meanders among wide gravel bars. Drop to the sandy river bed and walk along rounded stones before climbing over a side ridge. Head down again to the river and traverse to Machha Khola village.
The narrow trail makes some minor ups and downs and eventually crosses the Tharo Khola, flowing in a rocky ravine, then reaches Khorlabesi. After a few more ups & downs there is a small trailside hotspring, from where we reach to Tatopani. From the Hot spring we climb over another ridge, then cross the Budhi Gandaki on a suspension bridge. Climb on a wide, well-crafted staircase, then across a landslide and over a ridge to Dobhan. Crossing a suspension bridge over the Yaru Khola we climb the stone stairs and then drop to the river and again climb more stone stairs to Tharo Bharyang. Cross to the west bank of the budhi gandaki, climb over a ridge, and trek along the river then climb towards the village of Jagat.
The valley widens a bit as the trail continues up to Ghatta Khola. Continue upstream to a long suspension bridge. Climb up to Philim, a large gurung village. The trail turns north just above the lowest house in the village and stays fairly in level as it traverses millet fields to Ekle Bhatti. Beyond Ekle Bhatti the route enters a steep, uninhabited gorge. Descend to the grassy land slopes, cross the Budhi Gandaki, then trek along the west bank for a while, then cross to the east bank and then back again. As we keep walking the valley widens through bamboo forests to the Deng Khola.
After a short distance beyond Deng we recross the Budhi Gandaki on to the north bank and then climb to Rana at 1980m. >From the bridge we climb a bit to join a trail from Bhi, then head west up the Budhi Gandaki valley. Crossing various streams and rivers we drop into the Sringi Valley. Making ups and downs in forests, we pass mani walls and then turn to a corner and contours to Ghap, You can make a side-trip to Prok. Visit the Tibetan Gompas at Prok. There is also an MCAP office in Prok village.
The path follows the river upstream through dense forest. After crossing the river at an impressive spot where it thunders down a narrow gorge, the forest becomes less dense and the trail is fine again. The pleasant walk continues and after a last steep climb we reach Namru. To the south rises a huge peak, Himal Chuli. Climbing steadily in the shade of a forest takes us to Lihi, a fine village with many chortles and many barley terraces. We still have quite some way to go to Lho. Ganesh Himal raises high into the sky when we turn around. The trail drops and crosses the side valley of Simnang Himal. A chorten with detailed paintings announces Lho, another nice village with fine views up the open valley. One final steep slope needs to be climbed and then we reach the houses that are lined up on a ridge.
The Buri Gandaki is far down but we follow a small tributary instead. Walking in the shady fir forest is very enjoyable, a short climb to a plateau and the village Shyala. Huge mountains surround us, Himal Chuli and Peak 29 (Ngadi Chuli) to the left, Manaslu and large glaciers straight ahead, other snow summits to the right, at the far end of the valley we have just come from stands Ganesh Himal. From a large chorten we look down into a little dip where two rows of houses form the main part of Sama. At the far end of the village, overlooking the valley stands the well-known monastery of Sama.
we spend the day at Samagaon both for rest and acclimatization. Ponder at the thousands of mani stones with Buddhist texts and pictures. Meet the village women in Samagaon who wear a nice silver spoon as jewelry. On a little hill near Samagaon is an old Gompa. Take a sidetrip to Pungyen Gompa, a monastery with great views of the glacier. It is named after Manaslu; Pungyen means bracelet, a good description of the two peaks. It was destroyed a year after the first unsuccessful Japanese attempt to climb Manaslu. The locals believed that the climb angered the gods, and when the Japanese came back a year they met so much resistance that they had to give up their attempt. They finally summited the mountain in 1959.
Descend to the Budhi Gandaki, that has turned north, and follow it to a bridge over a side stream. The trail to the left leads to the Manaslu Base camp. The Larkya la Trail passes several mani walls as the valley begins to widen. It is an easy trail on a shelf above the river passing the juniper and birch forests of Kermo Kharka. We drop off the shelf, cross the Budhi Gandaki on a wooden bridge and climb steeply onto a promontory between two forks of the river. From a stone arch we can see a large white kani, finally passing through the kani we find Samdo.
we continue our walk down the edge, cross the wooden bridge over Buri Gandaki and begin walking upward. Cross two streams and witness the Larkya Glacier. Go around the valley of the Salka Khola and climb up again and come to the stone guest houspension bridge. Climb up and away from the river and hike through a broad, flat valley to the village of Tal (1,675m), situated at the foot of a large waterfall. The trail continues on to Chyamje, recrossing the river once again. It then descends through forests of rhododendron and pine to Syange.
After a short climb, we reach the ablation valley on the North side of the Larkya Glaciers. There are views of Cho Danda, Finally, we walk across the moraines of the glacier, making a gradual ascent which becomes steeper only in the last section to the pass. From the pass, there are outstanding views of Himlung Himal, Cheo Himal, Kangguru and the huge Annapurna II. Savor the spectacular views from the top of the pass. It is a longer day then usual to Bimtang, but to walk into these low pastures with the evening mist coming in and Manaslu; it’s an experience not to be missed.
Cross the high pasture, descend the valley of the Burdin Khola. From a ridge at 4150 meters, you have excellent views of Manaslu to the South East and Annapurna II to the South West. Beyond a bridge over the headwaters of the Dudh Khola, descend into a rhododendron forest and follow a trail through a narrow valley until we reach the highest cultivated land in this valley at Karche, 2785 meters. From here we cross a slide, then go across fields before making a steep climb over a ridge. The trail comes off the ridge in a big, sweeping arc to the river bank at 2580m. A short distance beyond is the village of Gho.
Continue through the fields, over a clear stream, passing through the houses and fields interspersed with rhododendron and oak forests. Staying on the north bank we trek into Tilje. Climb over a small ridge to the stone – paved village and wind among the closely spaced houses of this large Village. Leaving the village, cross the Dudh Khola and trek along the river embankment. Cross a wooden bridge back to the northern side of the Dudh Khola and climb up through a chorten-shaped arch and past a mani wall to Thonje. At the village of Thonje, we go through a police checkpoint, and then continue to Dharapani.
The remainder of our trek follows trails used on the first few days of the Annapurna Circuit Trek. We descend to the Marsyandi River and cross the suspension bridge. Climb up and away from the river and hike through a broad, flat valley to the village of Tal (1,675m), situated at the foot of a large waterfall. The trail continues on to Chyamje, recrossing the river once again. It then descends through forests of rhododendron and pine to Syange.
The Marsyandi valley opens and on its banks terrace fields and villages clung very high to the hillsides are the age-old work of the Nepalese farmers. We cross several interesting villages as Bhulbhule, Khudi. Then we walk on a flat part alongside the left bank of the Marsyandi, a last walk up for reaching Besi Sahar, a dusty and busy place which marks the end of our trek and further drive back to Kathmandu.
Free day in kathmandu o/n in a hotel
Today after breakfast, transfer to the international airport for your onward destination.
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Before we went to Nepal we were quite unsure about the conditions in Nepal after the earthquake. Himalayan Laeders informed us about the situation. We were happy it was possible…
Before we went to Nepal we were quite unsure about the conditions in Nepal after the earthquake. Himalayan Laeders informed us about the situation. We were happy it was possible to do the Manaslu circuit. On the circuit there has been landslides, but new paths are already made. We were taken good care of by our guide Bhagwan on the path and in the lodges. The Manaslu circuit was quiet and untouched. Annapurna circuit was more luxurious and offered also beautiful mountain views. Despite the fuel shortage transport was still alright. We certainly recommend Himalayan Leaders to all our friends!