Round Manaslu Trek - 21 days

Round Manaslu Trek - 21 days

Trek to upper Manaslu region was opened to tourists only in 1991, though mountaineering expeditions have been permitted to climb Mt. Manaslu and other peaks in this area. In 1950 a party led by H W Tilman trekked from Thonje to Bimtang in 1950 and Colonel Jimmy Roberts crossed Larkay La in their exploration bid during the same time. Japanese expedition team lead by Y. Maki climbed Mt. Manaslu (8156metres) in 1956 after several attempted they made since 1952. This mountain is dear to Japanese as much as Dhaulagiri to Swiss and Mt. Everest to British.            

The trek around Mt. Manaslu is culturally fascinating with Gurung in the lower section and Bhote (Tibetan) in the upper area, the area is geographically spectacular as it varies in topography from low land to high mountain pass. The whole region has been put into park protection under Manaslu Conservation Area Project (MCAP). The Tibetans of the upper Buri Gandaki  region known as ‘Nupri’ are direct descendants of Tibetan immigrants. Their speech, dress and customes are almost exclusively Tibetan. Before Tibet came to under direct China rule people dwelling in this part used to trade with Tibet through the high pass. The mountain views in Nupri are sensational. The passage through Larkya La is as dramatic as crossing any Himalaya pass

The Gurungs of the Buri Gandaki are primarily farmers, though there are many remnants of a hunting society. Even after MCAP is formed you may encounter men with locally made rifles or hear gun shots in the woods as they hunt for deer and other wild animals. The other occupation is honey hunting in the high cliffs.

Gorkha is the main trading center of the whole region above Arughat.  Gerung of Barpak and nearby villages used to get recruited in the Gorkha regiments of British Army. The Gurung woman dress elegantly; they have extensive collections of jewelry. Their men folk dress simple often using cloths made from nettle fiber.  Near Dhoban the Buri Gandaki river has cable ropeway at many places. We often come across people of the villages using basic cable car known locally as ghirling (pully) to cross the river for theirdaily work. They use their own pulley to connect to the cable so they can zip across the river.

Larkya La is not a difficult pass yet the trek to the pass is harder than most popular treks in Nepal. The stone cliff in the Buri Gandaki valley are steep and vertical in most places making it impossible to walk along the bottom of the valley. Before Jagat the trek involve up and down walking over ridges just to avoid the cliff.   The trail is rough and steep, and often we traverse the trail that hangs on a bluff high above the river. Because of this the logistic of landing helicopter in the lower section of the valley is extremely difficult so trekkers has to be extra cautious while walking so as not to break leg or fall ill. In this aspect the trek is remote and rescue possibilities are limited. The trek around Mt. Manaslu is still considered remote despite much development work that has taken place in recent years. 

Day 01: Arrive Kathmandu, transfer to hotel
Day 02: In Kathmandu, free day to explore Kathmandu own. Hotel

Day 03: Drive to Arughat. Overnight camp at Arughat (530m) / (9 hour drive) - Guest House accommodation

After breakfast we leave Kathmandu, arrive at Malekhu  (485 meters) - 2 hour drive. The road towards Pokhara now follows Ankhu Khola and then Budha Gandaki that flows all the way from the north of Mt. Manaslu. From Malekhu Dhading is about 4 hour drive. The valley opens up as Dhading village (670 m). The view of Ganesh Himal (7460m) is visible to the north. Annapurna, Manaslu (8156meters), Shringi Himal (7187meters) can be seen. From Dhading we travel to Arughat – 3 hour drive.  Arughat is a large and prosperous bazaar with hotels and shops selling cloth, food and hardware.

Day 04: Arughat to Soti Khola (710m) / (5 hour walk) - Guest House accommodation

From the junction descend a set of stone; the trail to the west goes to Gorkha. We take the trail to the north that follow Buri Gandaki river that pass through cultivated land along the right bank of the river. Pass through village of Morder and Simre and to Arkhet – The walk takes about 2 hour.

After lunch you walk the steep trail and descend through cascading water fall and climb a long steep trail to Koi Pani (820m) to Koir Pani. It is a small Magar and Gurung village. The trail descend to Soto Khola (710 m). It is a nice stop with small waterfall just above the trial and a good swimming if the weather is hot. There is small waterfall up the Soti Khola just above the trail.      

Day 05: Soati Khola via Lap-Besi (820m) to Machha Khola (820m) / (6 hour walk) - Guest House accommodation

On this day we travel through rocky trail carved out of the cliff that looms on both side of the river.  We go up and down several times through Riden village and travel through open valley with cultivated lands to reach a Gurung Village of Lap Besi (880m). It would take us almost 3 hour.  After lunch we descend to a wide and sandy river bed of Buri Gandaki river, climb to another Gurung village named Kani Gaon. Again walk several up and down hill to reach a small village known as Machha Khola – 3 hour.

Day 06: Machha Khola to Jagat (1350m) / (6 hour walk) - Guest House accommodation

After crossing Machha Khola we travel along the edge of the river bed of Buri Gandaki that has huge rock walls on both sides, cross Tado Khola, walk to Khola Besi - a small village - to a hot spring - Tatopani (3 hour). After lunch cross the river on the suspension bridge to the west bank. We walk through the narrow exposed trail that descends to a cascading waterfall and a wooden bridge; then cross another ridge before making a steep descend to the sandy river bed of Dhoban (river confluence) situated at 860 meter.  We are still walking through the narrow trail defined by the steep rock cliff which climbs on a rugged rocky trail that cross landslide, climbing up and down ravines, scrambling up and down the gravel path and finally reach a big field eventually crossing a trail that descends to the Buri Gandaki. At this point the river begins to meander. Finally we reach Yaru Khola (1330 m) at Lauri ( 1 hour), cross the 923 meter long suspension bridge and climb the stone stairs several times to reach Thado Bharyang (steep stair) that has some houses and a shop next to the bridge.  The trail at this section is far better than what we have cross earlier. We cross Buri Gandaki river again and then climb a ridge, walk through high winding path before descending to the river bed to reach Jagat (1350m). It would take about 3 hour to reach Jagat from Doban. Jagat has a police check post and several government offices.

Day 07 : Jagat to Deng  (2240m) / ( 7/8 hour walk) - Guest House accommodation

We descend to the riverbed, cross Bhalu Khola, walk through the river bed and climb to a small village of Saguleri (1440m) – 30 min. From this point you can see Sringi Himal (7187m) at far north end of the valley. Continue to walk on the left bank of the river to Setibash (Tara) and Gatte Khola then cross the river on the suspension bridge to the right bank. We climb the trail to Filim (Dodang) at 1550 meters – 30 min. Philim is a large Gurung village with field of corn and millet. The village has several water driven mills.    Walk further to Deng for overnight stay.

Day 08: Deng to Ghap (2380m) / (4 hour walk) - Guest House accommodation

We trek a short distance beyond Deng and cross the bridge on Buri Gandaki to do a short climb along the north bank of the river to Rana (1960m) – 1 hour. Short climbs take us through stone gates and mani-stone through the village of Unbae. The trail head west up the Buri Gandaki valley.  We pass the waterfall and descend to the river bed again to climb the terraced hill through the edge of Bihi village (2130m) that would take about 1 hr 30 min. Then, cross Shringi Khola to climb the winding trail that gradually becomes level. Along this section there are some nice mani-stones and land mark typical of Bhote (Tibetan) culture. We reach Ghap (2380m) village that extend to both side of the river. There are nice camping place on other side of the river.

At Ghap there are interesting arch shaped chortens with intricate well- preserved paintings on the inside.  There are elegant carvings depicting Buddha and Milarepa - a Tibetan saint who is believed to have travel in this valley. 

Day 09: Ghap - Lho (3150m) / (6 hour walk) - Guest House accommodation

On this day we travel through long mani stones, cultivated fields, fir forests with birds, and colorful danphe (impeyan pheasant) – it is Nepal’s national bird. On the northern side of the river a large stream - Tom khola from Tibet - flows through a deep georoge to join Buri Gandaki. We climb the trail alongside the river that has two long mani-walls. There are many streams and wooden bridges to be crossed.  After switching back again to the south bank of the river we travel through bamboo and rhododendron forests to reach Namrung (2550m) village that would take us about 3 hour.

Stone archway is traditional land mark in the upper section of Manaslu to indicate welcome gesture. Namrung is an important village from the point of the government as it controls access to the upper part of the valley. We stop for lunch at a campsite in the forests on the right side of the trail. 

After lunch at Namrung, in about 2 hour, we reach Bengsam and Lihi known as Nupri region. Here we begin to meet descendent of Tibetan who had immigrated to the south a long time back. Their culture and dress are typical of Tibetans. We then pass through mani-wall and cultivated fields, firs, oak and rhododendron forest that would take us to Lihi in another 1 hour walk. The houses in Lihi (2900m) are closely packed. It has a gompa on the side of the trail and another one above the village. The stone house has typical architecture found only in this region - It is grouped into 5 to 6 apartment units sharing a common roof and a courtyard – something to watch and imagine. After leaving Lihi village we cross Hinan Khola to climb the trail to Sho village. Very soon view of Manaslu North (7157m) and Mt. Manaslu main peak (8163m) begin to appear. After an hour walk on the gradually ascending trail we pass through cultivated field to a fairly large village of Lho (3150m). Here Ganesh Himal (7429m) can be seen further east.      

Day 10: Lho to Samagaon (3530m) /  (6 hour walk) - Guest House accommodation

We descend the winding trail to cross Damonan Khola and climb the trail that leads to a ridge overlooking the extensive pastures and fields of Sama (Ro) gaon. Sama Gompa can be seen perched against a wooded moraine at the end of the valley.  Samagaon (3530m) is nestled in the valley; there are many houses with courtyards that overlook the trail.

Depending upon the weather condition and physical shape we climb the ridge to the south of Sama-gaon to the Punggyen Gompa located at the end of the moraine of Pungen Glacier. It would take about 4 hour to reach the gompa and another 6 hour to Samagaon. The gompa is hidden behind the ridge in front of Manaslu. It is also known as Honsansho Gompa  for Japanese. This monastery was destroyed by an avalanche in the winter of 1993, during first Japanese expedition to Mt. Manaslu, Killing 18 inhabitants, mostly nuns. The villagers believed that the God residing on Manaslu destroyed the gompa to show his wrath for the trespassers. This incident still scares them of the outsider. For this reason they are scaptical.

Day 11: Rest day - acclimatization day at Samagaon

Day 12: Sama (Ro) gaon to Sama Gompa / Beyond Samdo (3780m) / (4 hour walk) - Guest House accommodation

As we approach Larkya (La) pass the valley to the north begins to widen.  The walk is gradual and easy on the trail above the river. We pass through juniper and birch forests and the stone huts at Kermo Kharka (pasture land) from where we can get excellent view of Manaslu. We walk through Kermo Menan - at this point the wide valley becomes narrow. We follow the trail above the Buri Gandaki that has now less volume of water in the river, and gradually descends to the river bed. Again we cross the river to climb the terraced field to reach Samdo – 3 hour. Samdo village is a remote human settlement in an inhospitable natural condition.  A major Tibetan trade route heads north east through the village and over the Lajyang La at 5098 meters into Tibet. It is a day walk from Samdo. After Samdo continue to descend the trail, cross few streams and climb gradually further to a guest house built for travelers at the elevation of 4450 meter.

Day 13: Beyond Samdo to Dharmasala (4460m) / (4 hour walk) - Guest House accommodation

The trail from Samdo descends to cross Gyala Khola (river) that flows from Tibetan plateau. Cross the streams, follow Sarka Khola to Dharmasala (4460m) where there is a guest house. Since Tanbuche is a long way over the pass it is logistically prudent to stay overnight at Dharmasala.   

Day 14: Extra day at Dharamsala - acclimatization

Day 15: Dharmasala to Larkya La. Cross Lrkya La to Bhimthang (3860m) / (8/9 hours walk) - Guest House accommodation

We leave the Dharmasala (guest house) and climb gradually along the moraine, cross a ridge and descend to a lake. We continue to climb the ridge up to the moraine (4700m). As we approach the summit we climb the indistinct path, cross the moraine and continued to walk to reach the pass that has prayer flag flirting. It would take about 3/4 hour gradual and slow climbing to Larkya La (pass at 5220m). As we approach the summit we can see stunning and beautiful views of Himlung Himal (7126m), Cheo Himal (6820m), Gyaji Kang, Kang Guru (6981m) and Annapurna II (7937m) in the western horizon. The summit of the pass is usually covered with snow.  As in any Himalayan pass while crossing we have to be cautious of the weather condition and backup support so as not to put yourselves, staffs and porter in danger.  

We descend to Tanbuche through a steep slope covered with snow and loose gravels. The traverse through moraine, make steep descend on a loose gravel to reach Tanbuche (3900m) which would take about another 2 hour. It would be a long day that can be stretched because of bad weather.

Descend further gradually on much better trail through a small meadow to a rest house at Bimtang (3630m) – 3 hour. There is nice view of the west side of Mt. Manaslu and another prominent peak – Phungi (6398m). Bimtang is the first and last settlement on west side of the pass. It used to be an important trading post in the past. From Bimtang descend to Karche (2640m) / (4 hour).  First descend to Burdin Lhola. We descend to the head water of Dudh Khola through pine and rhododendron forest to Hompuk (3030 m). Continue to descend to Karche (2640m) through several Kharka (pasture land), 

It is possible to follow the trail to the west base camp of Manaslu, climb a ridge (4160m) to get fantastic view of main peak of Manaslu and Manaslu North Peak (7157m) toward east and Annapurna II and  Lamjung Himal in the west.

Day 16: Bhimthang to Dharapani (1860m) and to Tal (1680m) / (7 hour walk) - Guest House accommodation

The trail from Karche travel through cultivated fields that climb to a pass (2710m) and descend through few settlements to the village of Gho ((2510m) – 2 hour. We then follow the easy trail along the Dudh Khola (river) to a large Gurung village of Tilje. The descent  through cultivated land and oak and rhododendron forest takes about 2 hour.  We cross Dudh Khola several times, pass through Tonje and finally reach Dharapani (1860m) in about 2 hour. Dharapani is a major junction in Marysangdi Valley with police check post and many other government offices.  Descend about 2 hrs to the flat valley of Tal (1680m). Here Marsyangdi river drop dramatically. The river goes from placid calm to torrent. We still remain at the riverside when reaching Tal.

Day 17: Tal to Bahundanda (1260m) / (7 hour walk) - Guest House accommodation

We have gone through steepest part of the Marsyangdi Gorge. The main around Annapurna trail from the south continues to follow the Marsyangdi valley. The walk from Tal to the bridge is 1 hr 30 min and to the village of Bridge to Chamje takes another 30 min. Stop for lunch at Chamje (1410m) and continue to descent along the Marsyangdi river valley to Jagat. – 2 hour. Further down we cross the river to the east bank at Syanje. Finally reach Bahundanda - 3 hour.

Day 18: Bahundanda to Khudi (790m) / (4 hour walk) - Guest House accommodation

We enter countryside with terraced rice field. Walk to Ngadi (920m) which would take about 2 hour 30 min. Stop for lunch at Ngadi.  Further down the river in about 1 hour we cross the river to Bhulbhule (840m). The walk from Bhulbhule to Khudi (790m) is just 30 min. Stay overnight at Khudi.

Day 19: From Khudi we take bus to Kathmandu  ( 8 hour drive) - Hotel  accommodation

After breakfast we travel by bus to Kathmandu. First part of the road from Khudi to Bensishahar (8 km / 2 hour walk) is motorable in dry season only. The road from Bensishahar to Kathmandu is all weather road (pitched).

Day 20: In Kathmandu, free day

Day 21: Transfer to airport, depart Kathmandu

 

Trek cost:
1  Pax     US$1715 per person
2  Pax     US$1390 per person 
3-5pax    US$1300 per person 
6-9pax    US$1210 per person 
10+pax   US$1175 per person
SGL supplement: US$ 120

Cost includes:
01. All meals and standard accommodation in lodge during the trek
02. Service of trek guide and Sharpe assistant for bigger group above 6 person
03. Porters to carry personal baggage (each 15 kg.)
04. Accident insurance for staffs and porters
05. Public bus transportation Aarughat Bazaar, Khudi to Kathmandu
06. Manaslu special trek permit, Manaslu and Annapurna conservation permit and TIMS
07. Arrival and departure transfers.
08. Hotel accommodation in Kathmandu and Pokhara using 3 star category on BB as per programme
09. All airport transfers 

Cost does not include:
01. Personal clothing and sleeping bag
02. Personal accident and health insurance
03. Emergency evacuation and medical expense
04. Alcoholic and bottled beverage, mineral water, laundry, and tips
05. Any other services and expenses that are not specifically mentioned
06. Expenses due to flight delay, sickness other contingencies 

 

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