The Manaslu Circuit Trek is one of the most fascinating trekking routes in Nepal. This trek takes you to the lap of the 8th highest mountain in the world, Mt. Manaslu (8,163 meters). Along with the up-close views of Mt. Manaslu, you get panoramic views of the high Himalayas including Himalchuli, Ngadi Chuli, Ganesh Himal, and Larke Himal.
In this trek, you will experience significant altitude variations, from 815 meters at Soti Khola to 5,135 meters at Larkya La Pass. This altitudinal range brings about diverse land structure variations, from subtropical forests to high Himalayan passes.
Here are the Top 5 Reasons to Choose Manaslu Circuit Trek for your next adventure.
1. Untouched Natural Beauty and Diversity
The trails of the Manaslu Trek are off the beaten track and secluded when compared to the popular routes around the Everest and Annapurna regions. But the lack of popularity doesn’t mean its less appealing. Manaslu Circuit Trek is undoubtedly an adventure of a lifetime.
For a trekker seeking a trek through rustic and diverse land structures, moraines, scattered villages, and Himalayan passes, this is the best trail in Nepal.
In the scattered villages across the trekking route, you can find numerous ethnic communities and indulge with them to discover the cultural and lifestyle diversity of these places.
2. Away from the Crowded Trekking Trails
The Manaslu region was officially opened for foreigners in 1991. However, tourists still need to acquire a restricted trekking permit from the Department of Immigration to enter this region. This reason, along with the difficulty of crossing the Larkya La Pass (5,135 meters) are the main reasons why this trek sees less number of trekkers.
The weather in the Himalayas is unpredictable and harsh. This could also be another reason for the route being uncrowded. The nights in high-altitudes are freezing cold. The temperatures might drop from 20 degrees to below zero.
This isolation and solitude make the trek more adventurous and enjoyable. You get to enjoy some of the most pristine and virgin regions in Nepal all by yourself.
3. Long Trek Duration
The Manaslu Circuit Trek takes a minimum of 14 days and covers a total distance of approximately 177 km. This is a long trek compared to other classic treks like Annapurna Base Camp Trek or the Everest Base Camp Trek.
The unpredictable weather patterns that bring unexpected thunderstorms, floods, and landslides could also lengthen your trek.
Furthermore, the trek might extend depending upon your physical condition, the season that you trek in, and the side trips that you might want to explore.
The length of the trek also determines the difficulty of a trek. On a standard 18-day itinerary of Manaslu Trek, you’ll have to walk for around 15-20 km per day for 10-12 days.
Thus, an occasional hiker might find this trek to be a test of physical strength and mental patience. These challenges you face throughout the trek showcase the differences in hiking vs trekking. So we recommend going on some short treks to get a good feel of treks that stretch to multiple days, unlike hikes that complete within a single day.
This strenuous and long but a fantastic trip is best for someone seeking a long break from everyday life.
4. Wildlife Diversity
The Manaslu region shelters 33 different species of mammals, 110 species of birds, and 211 species of butterflies. Home to both rare and abundant wildlife, this region is a sanctuary for wildlife and environment researchers. Trekkers might also get opportunities to spot Snow Leopards in the northern fringe of the trekking route.
You will also experience a large variety of floral diversity as the Manaslu Conservation Area is home to 1500-2000 species of flowering plants. If you choose the spring season for your adventure, it will be the best time to witness the colorful bursts of these flowering plants.
Walking through the Manaslu Conservation Area and climbing at the top to witness excellent viewpoints during The Manaslu Trek is perfect for someone who wants to get mixed with nature itself.
5. Tsum Valley Extension and Other Side trips
Marvelous on its own, the Manaslu Circuit Trek can also extend to other routes. The most appropriate extension is the Tsum Valley Extension. In this extension, the two-weeks-long Manaslu Circuit Trek lengthens by one more week.
Tsum Valley Trek offers great insights into ancient art and culture of Tibetan Buddhism as you explore Mu Gompa, Rachen Gompa, and other Buddhist monasteries.
It also contains plenty of fantastic side trips that you can take along with the standard route. These include the Manaslu Base Camp, Birendra Lake, Kalmachum Lake, Serang Gompa, and Hinang Gompa. These side trips may add a day or two to the classic Manaslu Trek itinerary.
Useful Tips For the Manaslu Circuit Trek
Carry a Four-Season Sleeping Bag
In the winter nights during your trek, you might experience chilly temperatures even inside the tea-houses. So to get warm and comfy sleep, you can use a warm sleeping bag.
A personal sleeping bag will also be more hygienic than the bed sheets and blankets that you receive from the teahouses in the remote locations.
Prepare Both Physically as well as Mentally
At a whopping altitude of 5,135 meters, the Larkya La Pass is the highest elevation in this trek. This climb won’t be an easy feat.
Carry out training sessions for a few weeks and build up enough physical and mental strength before you start your trek. You could also go on short hikes to nearby hills and heights. There are several benefits of hiking that can help to strengthen your body for the Manaslu Trek. Boosting fitness, improving mental wellbeing, and assisting social lives are the primary benefits of hiking.
Stretching and flexibility are also essential parts of training schedules. These help to keep the muscles loose, and avoid injuries while doing other exercises.
Hire a Professional Trekking Guide
The trails in the Manaslu Region are offbeat and less crowded. So there are very high chances of getting lost if the weather is bad and if the mist obscures the pathways.
Therefore, to ensure a safe journey, hire a professional trekking guide.
Carry the Required Permits
The Manaslu Trekking route lies in the restricted region. Therefore every trekker needs to have the Manaslu Restricted Area Permit to trek in this region.
Along with this, you will also need the MCAP (Manaslu Conservation Area Project) permit and ACAP (Annapurna Conservation Area Project) permit.
Drink enough water during your trek. A trekker is bound to lose a lot of water from the body while trekking. So in order to compensate for the lost water, you need to drink enough water.
We recommend carrying water bottles and purification tablets as well.
Diamox helps to prevent altitude-related illnesses. Since the trek takes you to a maximum elevation of 5,135 meters, one of the main risks is altitude sickness. It is always more beneficial to prepare for the worst possible scenario.
In a nutshell, the Manaslu Region is one of those untouched and offbeat areas waiting for trekking enthusiasts and adventure seekers to come and conquer.
The best time for Manaslu Circuit Trek is during Spring (March to May) and Autumn (September to November). In these seasons, the temperatures are moderate, with averages ranging from 14-16 degrees Celsius at night to 23-25 degrees Celsius in the day. The skies are usually clear, providing marvelous and pristine views of High mountain ranges along the route.
Although this trek is strenuous at specific points during the journey, with adequate training and strong willpower, you can choose and conquer the Manaslu Circuit Trek for your next adventure.