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Conquering the Epic Manaslu Circuit Trek

If you’re looking to get off-the-beaten-path and conquer one of Nepal’s most stunning high-altitude treks, look no further than the remote Manaslu Circuit. Circling the world’s 8th highest peak, Mt. Manaslu (8,163m), this challenging 2-3 week teahouse trek has everything – soaring peaks, ancient cultures, and breathtaking landscapes.

As an experienced travel writer and trekker, I recently completed the Manaslu Circuit and want to share everything you need to know in this comprehensive guide. Read on to discover why this trek deserves a spot at the top of your bucket list!

The Best Time to Trek Manaslu Circuit

Due to the very high elevation, the best times to trek the Manaslu Circuit are:

Spring Season (March to May)

  • Moderate temperatures at lower elevations
  • Higher chance of snowfall on passes like Larkya La
  • Flowers like rhododendrons start to bloom

Autumn Season (October to November)

  • Stable weather with mostly clear skies
  • Cold temperatures, especially at higher camps
  • High visibility for mountain views

Avoid Monsoon Season (June to September)

  • Heavy rainfall can lead to landslides
  • Cloudy skies limit views of the peaks
  • Some lodges may be closed during this time

Dramatic High Mountain Scenery:

The Manaslu Circuit offers non-stop jaw-dropping scenery as you encircle the towering Manaslu massif and pass through remote valleys. You’ll trek beneath majestic peaks like Manaslu, Ngadi Chuli, and Himalchuli while crossing high-altitude passes like the Larkya La (5,160m).

The landscape changes from lush green hillsides to arid high mountains reminiscent of Tibet. One highlight is the turquoise waters of the Budhi Gandaki River accompanying you throughout this adventure. The views get better daily, culminating at the Larkya La pass.

Immersion into Ancient Cultures:

A major highlight of the Manaslu trek is getting to immerse yourself in cultures untouched by modernity. You’ll stay in traditional villages inhabited by people from tribes like the Gurung and Tamang.

Ancient monasteries, artistic mani stone walls, tea shops and rustic homes make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time. The local people are extremely welcoming, making this a fantastic cultural experience.

Challenging but Rewarding Trek:

The Manaslu Circuit is considered one of Nepal’s toughest long-distance treks with good reason. You have to be mentally and physically prepared for:

– 12-18 days of strenuous hiking with 7-8 hour days
– Freezing temperatures down to -20°C at higher elevations
– High altitude with a max elevation of 5,160m at Larkya La Pass
– Basic guesthouse accommodation and facilities on the trail

But the reward of completing this ultimate high-altitude teahouse trek around one of Nepal’s 8,000m giants is monumental! The sense of accomplishment matched with the scenery is incredible.

Day Itinerary for Manaslu Circuit Trek

Here’s a detailed day-by-day itinerary:

Day 1 – Drive from Kathmandu to Soti Khola (710m)

Day 2 – Trek from Soti Khola to Maccha Khola (870m)

Day 3 – Maccha Khola to Jagat (1,400m)

Day 4 – Jagat to Deng (1,804m) via Philim

Day 5 – Deng to Namrung (2,630m)

Day 6 – Acclimatization day in Namrung to explore nearby places

Day 7 – Namrung to Samagaon (3,530m)

Day 8 – Acclimatization day in Samagaon. Optional hike to Pungyen Gompa

Day 9 – Samagaon to Samdo (3,875m)

Day 10 – Samdo to Dharmsala/Larkya Phedi (4,460m)

Day 11 – Cross Larkya La Pass (5,160m), trek to Bimthang (3,720m)

Day 12 – Bimthang to Dharapani, drive to Besisahar

Travel Tips for an Epic Manaslu Circuit Trek:

To hike the Manaslu Circuit, remember these key planning and trekking tips:

– Get permits well in advance due to tight regulations
– Travel in a small group with an experienced guide
– Carry enough cold weather and technical trekking gear
– Get insurance, medications, and altitude sickness prevention/treatment
– Maintain fitness before the trek and walk slowly to avoid altitude sickness
– Respect local cultures and environmental sustainability on the trail
– Budget extra days to allow for acclimatization and weather delays

Ready for the Trek of a Lifetime?

The Manaslu Circuit deserves a spot at the top of every serious trekker’s bucket list. While extremely challenging, it rewards you with the ultimate high-altitude Himalayan adventure. Let me know if you need any help planning this unforgettable teahouse trek!