The Manaslu Circuit trek is far less crowded than other classic treks in Nepal and remains a true remote adventure, despite its increase in popularity since teahouses were built here in 2010. The Manaslu trek features all the great aspects of a classic trek in Nepal: epic scenery, spectacular suspension bridge crossings and a 5100m (17,000-ft.) Himalayan pass.

Why trek the Manaslu Circuit Trek?

Fast facts
Durations 13-19 days
Max. elevation 5,106 m / 16,752 ft
(Larkya La pass)
Start/finish Soti Khola/Besisahar
Difficulty Challenging
Accommodation Teahouse
Manaslu Circuit Trek Map
Manaslu Circuit trek map

Experts consider the Manaslu Circuit Trek among the best treks in Nepal. Despite its recent rise in popularity, the Manaslu Trek remains remote and off-the-beaten-path compared to the better-known teahouse treks in Nepal. The trek takes you around Manaslu, the world's eighth highest mountain at 8,163 meters (26,781 ft). 

Top highlights of this trek include:

  • It is far less crowded than its more well-known peers Everest Base Camp and Annapurna Circuit. The word is getting out about Manaslu, but there are still about 10 times fewer trekkers on the Manaslu Trail
  • The trek is wild and remote, yet there are teahouses at every day stage, so trekkers don’t need to bring tents and food, making it more accessible and affordable than similar treks.
  • The trailhead is reached over land, avoiding the need for domestic flights. 
  • The first part of the trail follows the Buri Gandaki, a deep, long river gorge, with many suspension bridge crossings 
  • The scenery provides all Nepal has to offer: you'll trek from the subtropical jungle at lower elevations, through the Himalayan foothills to the high, cold and challenging crossing of the Larkya La above 5,100 meters / 17,000 feet.

Ready to start planning your Manaslu Circuit Trek?

We work with the very best local specialists in Nepal who are ready to help organize your trek.

For a private trek get started here.

To join a small group tour check out pricing and availability here.

Getting to the trailhead

The trailhead of the Manaslu Circuit trek is the closest to Kathmandu of the major Nepalese treks. That said, it's still an adventurous 126 km (80 miles) drive from Kathmandu to Soti Khola, which takes about 6 hours by jeep (recommended) or 8+ hours by public bus. If road conditions are challenging (which is often the case at the tail end of the monsoon in September) you may have to start walking in Arughat, which adds an extra day.

Required Permits

The Manaslu trek is within a restricted region of Nepal, meaning you'll need a trekking permit to access this route. Solo trekkers are also not allowed, where a minimum group size of two people is required. 

Accommodation during the Trek

Each night, you'll be staying in local teahouses run by the local communities along the trek. Most teahouses are quite basic but comfortable, with two single beds in each room. There is a common area for meals and relaxing, which is a great place to stay warm around the fire at night. To see what teahouses look like, check out our article on Teahouse Trekking in Nepal

Brief Itinerary

Day Description Overnight Altitude
Day 1 Drive from Kathmandu to Sotikhola via Arughat Sotikhola 815m
Day 2 Trek from Sotikhola to Maccha Khola Maccha Khola 800m
Day 3 Trek from Maccha Khola to Jagat Jagat 1370m
Day 4 Trek from Jagat to Philim Philim 1570m
Day 5 Trek from Philim to Deng Deng 1865m
Day 6 Trek from Deng to Ghap Ghap 2165m
Day 7 Trek from Ghap to Lho Lho 3180m
Day 8 Trek from Lho to Sama Gaon/Ro Sama Gaon 3525m
Day 9 Acclimatization Day in Sama Gaon Sama Gaon 3525m
Day 10 Trek from Sama Gaon to Samdo 3850m
Day 11 Acclimatization Day in Samdo Samdo 3850m
Day 12 Trek from Samdo to Dharamsala Dharamsala 4460m
Day 13 Trek from Dharamsala to Bimtang via Larkya La (5135m) Bimtang 3590m
Day 14 Trek from Bimtang to Dharapani Dharapani 1860m
Day 15 Drive from Dharapani to Kathmandu Kathmandu 1340m

Detailed itinerary

Day 1: Drive to Sotikhola via Arughat by jeep

Our adventure starts with an 8-10-hour drive in a private jeep along spectacular (and bumpy!) roads. You will see the incredible variation of scenery in Nepal and get a glimpse of life in buzzing roadside towns.

Day 2: Trek to Maccha Khola (800m)

The first stage of the trek follows the narrow, deep Buri Gandaki valley, through dense forests and terraced farmland. Expect hot and humid weather at the early stages of the trek.

Day 3: Trek to Jagat (1370m)

© Alex Treadway

Today we experience some of the best aspects of trekking through a deep gorge: suspension bridges, waterfalls and impressive rapids, and we’ll enter the Manaslu Conservation Area in the beautiful paved village of Jagat.

Day 4: Trek to Philim (1570m)

© Alex Treadway

Today we’ll have more steep ups and downs, and suspension bridges, as we get our first views of high, snow-covered mountains. The day is a bit shorter than usual, with only about 3 hours of hiking.

Day 5: Trek to Deng (1865m)

After crossing several bridges and more spectacular waterfalls we will pass the entrance to Tsum Valley before we enter the area where natives are ethnically Tibetan.

Day 6: Trek to Ghap (2165m)

© Alex Treadway

We enter deeper into Tibetan influenced territory, with the first mani stones (prayers etched onto wayside rocks) making their appearance along the trail, while enjoying spectacular views.

Day 7: Trek to Lho (3180m)

The landscape turns increasingly Alpine as we continue to gain altitude, and we get our first views of Manaslu itself! The village of Lho is lively and has a small gompa (shrine) that’s worth a visit.

Day 8: Trek to Sama Gaon/Ro (3525m)

More mani walls and gompas line the trail today, as we continue to see the snowy peak of Manaslu in the distance ahead of us.

Day 9: Acclimatization Day in Sama Gaon

© Alex Treadway

We’ll have our first rest day here, to give our body’s time to adjust to the altitude. Explore the village or take a day hike to PungGyen Gompa.

Day 10: Trek from Sama Gaon to Samdo

Another day of incredible mountain views during the walk up to Samdo, just three hours away to limit our elevation gain.

Day 11: Acclimatization Day in Samdo

© Alex Treadway

Today is our second rest day which will give you the opportunity to visit the border with Tibet. If we’re lucky we can visit and see inside some of the local houses for chang (Tibetan barley beer), salt butter tea and perhaps a few carpets to buy!

Day 12: Trek from Samdo to Dharamsala

We get closer and closer to the high mountains today, as we climb past glaciers while enjoying spectacular views. You’ll likely feel the altitude, so take it slow today and save your energy for the big day tomorrow.

Day 13: Trek from Dharamsala to Bimtang via Larkya La (5135m)

Larkya La
View from the top of Larkya La

Today we get up very early and cross glacier moraines in the dark before we reach the highest point of the trek: The Larkya La Pass. After enjoying the truly unbelievable views, get ready for a steep, ankle straining drop to a trail following the glacial moraine. It’s a long spectacular day and one that you likely will remember forever!

Day 14: Trek Bimtang to Dharapani (1860m)

The village of Bimthang
The village of Bimtang

From here we continue our descent into the land of apple pie, cold beers and hot showers - the Annapurna Circuit trail and almost the end of our trail. We continue through the bamboo forest and the last stop of our trek, Dharapani.

Day 15: Drive to Kathmandu

In the morning we say our goodbyes to the crew, load up the jeep and start the drive back to Kathmandu, giving you a chance to reflect on the impressive experiences of the past 2 weeks.

Variations

The Tsum Valley Extension (19 days)

View point above Mu Gompa Tsum Valley with view on backside of Ganesh Himal
View point above Mu Gompa in Tsum Valley with view on backside of Ganesh Himal - Photo by Alex Treadway
Day Destination Altitude
Day 1 Kathmandu - Soti Khola (by jeep) 775m
Day 2 Soti Khola - Machhakhola 900m
Day 3 Macchakhola - Jagat 1300m
Day 4 Jagat - Phillim 1590m
Day 5 Phillim - Chumling 2360m
Day 6 Chumling to Chhokangparo 3010m 
Day 7 Chhokangparo to Nile 3361m
Day 8 Nile to Mu Gompa (3700m) and Chhokangparo  3361m 
Day 9 Gumba Lungdang to Lokpa 2240m
Day 10 Lokpa to Ghap 2160m
Day 11 Ghap to Lho 3180m
Day 12 Lho to Samagaon 3580m
Day 13 Day trip to Manaslu Base Camp 4400m
Day 14 Samagaon to Samdo 3875m
Day 15 Climb Samdo Ri or take a day trip to Tibet border 3875m
Day 16 Samdo to Dharamsala  4460m
Day 17 Dharamsala to Bimtang (via Larke Pass 5160m) 3590m
Day 18 Bimtang to Dharapani 1963m
Day 19 Dharapani - Kathmandu (by jeep) 1400m

If you have the time, we highly recommend extending your trek for another week by adding the side trip to Tsum Valley to your itinerary. Tsum Valley is even more remote than the main Manaslu trail, and has amazing views, including the famous viewpoint above Mu Gompa pictured below.   

Manaslu Boutique-Style Camping Trek

Camping makes for a unique way for trekkers seeking a special Manaslu experience (Photo: Kim Bannister)

While most trekkers stay in teahouses, some choose to camp. The advantages of camping include more flexibility to select camping spots that are further away from the villages where most trekkers congregate, and higher quality and more varied food since your crew will be carrying in supplies. Kimkim local specialist Kim Bannister runs an annual boutique Manaslu camping trek in her unique "Kamzang style". While pricier than the standard Manaslu teahouse trek, this option is great for trekkers seeking a "higher touch" experience. More info and dates & pricing can be found here.

Group Departures and Private Treks

Crossing the snow-covered Larkya La in October 2016 - Photo by Rohan Delhikan

Kimkim local specialists are running small group fixed departures in 2018 and 2019. The treks include guide, porter, lodging, transport, and permits, but exclude food. See the full list of group departure dates.

Request a Custom Itinerary

Do you have any questions about this trek or would you like to see how it can be customized to your needs? Our partners also run private treks just for you and your travel partners. To start organizing a private trek, get in touch here.

Map

Map of Manaslu Circuit Trek: The Ultimate Off-The-Beaten-Path Trek in Nepal - 15 Days
Map of Manaslu Circuit Trek: The Ultimate Off-The-Beaten-Path Trek in Nepal - 15 Days

Recent Trip Reviews

Related trips planned by kimkim specialists

Group departure - manaslu circuit trek - the ultimate off-the-beaten-path trek in nepal - 13 to 19 days, Nepal - Jun 5 - Jun 19, 2018

Traveler: Cristina O. - Local specialist: Amanda Delecca

The trip was amazing, I enjoyed every moment of it. Chhiring, our guide, was incredible, helped us all the time.

Group departure - manaslu circuit trek - the ultimate off-the-beaten-path trek in nepal - 13 to 19 days, Nepal - Mar 26 - Apr 9, 2018

Traveler: chris m. - Local specialist: Amanda Delecca

I believe our trek guide Gelu did an amazing job throughout the 2 weeks. His experience, and temperament was valued, whilst his willingness to help all trekkers to have an amazing trip was first class. Actually this is true for his whole team, including porters and assistant guide Nu bo. They all performed roles from guides, to cooks, to waiters, to boot fixers etc with a smile and pleasant nature.
In regards to the trek itself, it included beautiful country and challenging terrain towards... read more

I believe our trek guide Gelu did an amazing job throughout the 2 weeks. His experience, and temperament was valued, whilst his willingness to help all trekkers to have an amazing trip was first class. Actually this is true for his whole team, including porters and assistant guide Nu bo. They all performed roles from guides, to cooks, to waiters, to boot fixers etc with a smile and pleasant nature.
In regards to the trek itself, it included beautiful country and challenging terrain towards the top. I would personally probably prefer bigger days in the lower country and reducing the number of days over over the trek or including a few more days in the Annapurna region towards the end. Overall great trip with some great people.

Group departure - manaslu circuit trek - the ultimate off-the-beaten-path trek in nepal - 13 to 19 days, Nepal - Mar 26 - Apr 9, 2018

Traveler: Farhan R. - Local specialist: Amanda Delecca

Gelu, the cheif guide and Nurbu were both amazing. Incredibly helpful, and caring.

I'd like to add that Gelu's insight when tweaking the itinerary really helped make the trip even better- affording us better rest, to save time and to make it to the pass on a much better (sunny) day. Gelu was also very good at crisis management- I had issues with my knee, did not manage to get a raincoat for the trek and a friend really struggled. Gelu was incredibly patient and helpful with all of us.

Nurbu... read more

Gelu, the cheif guide and Nurbu were both amazing. Incredibly helpful, and caring.

I'd like to add that Gelu's insight when tweaking the itinerary really helped make the trip even better- affording us better rest, to save time and to make it to the pass on a much better (sunny) day. Gelu was also very good at crisis management- I had issues with my knee, did not manage to get a raincoat for the trek and a friend really struggled. Gelu was incredibly patient and helpful with all of us.

Nurbu as well, with better experience would be a good guide.

The porters were all amazing and incredibly helpful, even with/ without the luggage being carried.

Nar and phu trek, Nepal - Mar 20 - Apr 1, 2018

Traveler: Jennifer K. - Local specialist: Amanda Delecca

My son and I had an absolutely amazing experience on the Nar Phu Valley trek. Our guide Chhiring and porter Nara, were fantastic. Chhiring provided us with a lot of commentary about the places, people, and social and cultural influences both past and present. Visiting the villages of Nar and Phu, particularly when there were very few other trekkers, was a remarkable experience but of course the stunning scenery the entire way, was the highlight. When it snowed heavily the night before we... read more

My son and I had an absolutely amazing experience on the Nar Phu Valley trek. Our guide Chhiring and porter Nara, were fantastic. Chhiring provided us with a lot of commentary about the places, people, and social and cultural influences both past and present. Visiting the villages of Nar and Phu, particularly when there were very few other trekkers, was a remarkable experience but of course the stunning scenery the entire way, was the highlight. When it snowed heavily the night before we were to ascend and cross the Kangla Pass, we were prepared to turn back but Chhiring, having monitored the situation, confidently led us on to the Pass. We often lost the path in the snow but Chhiring expertly picked a line and despite the oft times deep snow, we made it in good time and it was truly an exhilarating moment to reach the top!
Amanda was extremely informative and addressed all our concerns promptly. She was very helpful in both the initial planning stages and very amenable to any changes that we considered. I felt completely confident that the trek was well organized and safe. It was also a pleasure to meet with her and Chhiring before the trek. I would highly recommend Kimkim and Amanda from Himalayan Trails.

Manaslu circuit trek - the ultimate off-the-beaten-path trek in nepal - 13 to 19 days, Nepal - Nov 3 - Nov 16, 2017

Traveler: Thulasi M. - Local specialist: Ngima Dorji Sherpa

Overall, very happy with Ang Gelu and Kunga. Both of them compliment each other, and they understood our trekking style.

Ang Gelu - Extremely patient person. Seriously, I can't tell you how many times I stopped during the first few days. He never left my side. Always trekking behind me at my pace. Sometimes slow and sometimes really fast. His stamina is spot on. It's evident he loves the mountains, the way he talks about them, later part of the trek. He made sure we got proper meals during... read more

Overall, very happy with Ang Gelu and Kunga. Both of them compliment each other, and they understood our trekking style.

Ang Gelu - Extremely patient person. Seriously, I can't tell you how many times I stopped during the first few days. He never left my side. Always trekking behind me at my pace. Sometimes slow and sometimes really fast. His stamina is spot on. It's evident he loves the mountains, the way he talks about them, later part of the trek. He made sure we got proper meals during the day and also made sure we ordered food that was good in that particular restaurants. Whatever that he felt we shouldn't be eating he lets us know. There were many times after the trek when we took naps before dinner, and he came to our rooms with the menu asking for our orders in advance so that we don't have to wait for the food for long. He also made sure we stopped for tea breaks in between. He never rushed us, never raised his voice. There was a rest day where the room we got was near the storeroom, and the entire night we had mice running around and in our bags. We did not get any sleep at all that night and thankfully it was a rest day. We told him about it in the morning, and he spoke to the owner and got us a new room. AWAY from the mice. Ever since then he made sure the rooms we got were never near a storeroom. A very kind soft-spoken man. He also makes sure Kunga is ok while trekking and even offered him gloves on the morning of the pass. I have to say the day of the pass was the most gruelling out of all the days. Being up there was beautiful. But while descending, Mattis and myself had slight altitude sickness and had massive headaches. When we stopped for lunch in the mountains, we took a short nap. He knew we were both exhausted and even though we might be getting late to get to the guesthouse, he never rushed us at all. He also offered to carry my pack, which I politely declined. I knew we were all exhausted from the day and I consider all of us a team :) We were one of the last few to get to the guesthouse before sunset. He's honestly a good Sherpa.

Kunga - He is seriously like a ninja. For such a small frame, I'm in awe of how much he can carry, trek fast and eat like a horse after all that! Honestly, he's so fast, that later on during the trek, Ang Gelu sends him ahead to make sure we get comfortable rooms in the guesthouse since there were many trekkers on the way. He would be waiting for us at the guesthouse with our bags in the rooms holding the keys. As Kunga English is limited, it was hard to speak to him, but Ang Gelu was our translated. Later we brought out the cards and Mattis, Kunga and Ang Gelu had a good time playing cards and breaking the ice. Especially with Kunga as he's really shy.

Few things: During our briefing in the hotel, we spoke about height sickness pills, and we were assured that Ang Gelu would be bringing them. We did not know he did not have any, a day before heading to Dharamsala. I don't think he realised that he should have brought some in case we needed them. We brought some just in case, but we also feel a Sherpa should carry some with him.

Also, we knew accommodation would be limited in Dharamsala (the night before the pass). What we didn't realise was that it was just enough tents for trekkers but sherpas and porters had to sleep in the main canteen. With no heat or beds. We only found out in the morning. Even with such conditions, the Sherpas and porters still had their game face on early in the morning making sure their clients had breakfast and hot water before starting the trek. The Sherpa and the porters work the hardest, and somehow they did not even have proper sleeping beds to rest. We heard Dharamsala would be building a guesthouse eventually, but we hope in the meantime, that Sherpas and porters have comfortable sleeping areas so that they too can adequately rest a day before the pass.

We also notice they don't eat together with their clients. Not sure if this is a cultural thing. There were a few times both Ang Gelu and Kunga dined with us, but most of the time it's after we retire to bed. Sometimes Ang Gelu sends Kunga to have dinner first while he stays and waits for us to finish meal regardless of how long we take. Mattis and I would have been happy to have dinner together with Ang Gelu and Kunga after a whole day of trekking. We assume it could also be that they would want to have dinner together with their fellow Sherpas and porters. Which makes sense as well.

All in all, we had such a fabulous time doing the Manaslu trek. It's a beautiful route that changes every day. We had a great time with Ang Gelu and Kunga that once we got back to Kathmandu, we met them the next day for lunch. Will recommend your company to future trekkers for sure. A professional and competent team of Sherpas and porters.

Thank you Ngima for arranging this for us from start to finish. A special heartfelt thanks to Ang Gelu and Kunga for making this a trek that we will never forget. Great company with plenty of memories to last a lifetime.