Ultimate Manaslu Trek
Manaslu from Lho (Photo: John Balha)
Ultimate Manaslu Trek - Manaslu circuit, Tsum and Nar Phu valley (49 days, 48 nights)
This trip features three spectacular trekking regions of Nepal in one trip: Manaslu and Ganesh Himal, Tsum Valley and Nar Phu Valley. The main trip follows the classic remote and less-frequented circuit around Manaslu, the world's eight highest peak at 8,156m. On this circle, you will take an alternate route to the Ganesh Himal region from where you will enter the Tsum valley. After visiting the Tsum Valley, you re-join the Manaslu Circuit trail at Bihi. After crossing the Larkya La you have the option to continue on to Nar-Phu. All three regions (Manaslu, Tsum and Nar Phu) are restricted areas and require special permits to enter. Thus there are a lot fewer trekkers on these routes compared to the Annapurna Circuit route at the end of the trek.
Manaslu, Tsum and Nar-Phu areas are beautiful and fascinating regions located along the border of Nepal and Tibet. The inhabitants of the lower Buri Gandaki region (at the start of this trek) are Hindus (Brahmin/Chhetris) and Gurungs (Bonpos and Buddhists), while the inhabitants in the upper parts of the Buri Gandaki river are Buddhists and direct descendents of Tibetan immigrants who settled here in the early 1600s. The mani stones around Ghap (6,800ft) are particularly outstanding. A day beyond Ghap, you will enter truly high alpine country with spectacular close-up views of Manaslu at the head of the valley. After the Ganesh Himal region, you will trek towards Tsum Valley which was opened for trekking in October 2007. The crossing of the high pass of Larkya La (16,700 ft.), one of the most dramatic pass-crossings in the Himalaya, brings you to the Annapurna region. From here you trek towards the Nar-Phu valleys, another restricted area which was only opened to trekking a few years ago. After crossing the Kangla pass, you have the option to either trek on over the Thorung la (you are on your own with our porters - costs are extra) or trek down to Besi Sahar (costs are included).
This trek is non-technical and suitable for anyone in good shape who likes to hike. This is not a backpacking trip: porters will carry your gear. It is a camping trek: you will be sleeping and eating in campsites in tents along the trail. You have the option to do the entire 42 day (plus Thorung la crossing) trek or choose from either the Manaslu and Tsum only trek or the Nar-Phu only trek.
April 03 - Kathmandu
Arrive Kathmandu. Met at the airport and transfer to hotel. Welcome dinner. Overnight Hotel. (Dinner)
April 04 - Kathmandu
Sightseeing in Kathmandu. Overnight Hotel. (Breakfast and lunch)
April 05 - Bus Kathmandu to Gorkha (1,375 m/4,510 ft.)
Board a chartered bus with staff to Gorkha. Trek past the old palace to a cleared paddy field. Overnight tents. (All meals)
April 06, 07, and 08 - Gorkha to Darchey ridge (2,700 m/9,000 ft. approx)
Darchey ridge (Photo: John)
Trek through the Gorkha hills and villages of mixed ethnic groups but mostly dominated by the hindu Brahmins and Chhetris. Our first camp is at a school play-ground. It can get very hot in the day (85 F/30 C) especially walking in open trail without much tree cover. But slowly we begin to gain elevation as we trek up the bamboo forests of Darchey ridge. This is a remote trail not known to many trekkers and the only locals around are shepherds. Our first night in the ridge is in the jungle and on the second night cross the ridge and camp with shepherds. On a clear day, views from the Darchey ridge are outstanding. Overnight tents. (All meals)
April 09, 10 and 11 - Darchey to Jagat (1,410 m/4,630 ft.)
From Darchey, trek to Laprak, the second-largest Gurung village in the area. From Laprak, you begin a long and steady descent to Machha Khola. Then walk through wheat and buckwheat fields to reach hot-springs at Tatopani (930m). Spend some time soaking in the hot-springs, before heading out to Dobhan (1,000m). Above Dobhan, the Buri Gandaki descends in an impressive series of steep rapids. Here, the trail climbs high above the river and then descends through a huge gateway that opens out into a wide valley where the river is calm again. Continue on to the campsite below Jagat (1,410m).
Jagat is a beautiful stone-paved village with a rudimentary trekker's hotel, shops, and a customs office. Jagat is the entrance to Manaslu Conservation Area, an area where the concept of integrated conservation and development is being implemented to achieve conservation and sustainable development objectives. There is also an MCAP (Manaslu Conservation Area Project) office here where your permits will be checked. Overnight Camp. (All meals)
April 12 - Jagat to Lokwa (2,210 m/7,250 ft.)
Descend a long series of stone steps to the river, then climb a terraced hill to Saguleri (1,440m) from where you can get an impressive view of Sringi Himal (7,187m). Past Saguleri, pass through Sirdibas village (1,430m). Cross the Buri Gandaki again over a long suspension bridge at Ghatta Khola, then follow the route upstream. Climb up a steep incline to reach Philim (1,590m). Philim (1,590 m) is a large Gurung village with fields of corn and millet. The hillsides become steeper beyond Philim until Aga. Follow a level mountain path while looking down into the Budi Gandaki gorge; make your way around to the Shar Khola side arriving at Lokwa. Overnight Camp. (All meals)
April 13, 14 and 15 - Lokwa to River camp (GANESH HIMAL AREA)
You now leave the Manaslu trail and head toward Ganesh Himal. This area is even more remote than the main Manaslu trail and you will encounter one or two other groups of Westerners at most - sometimes none. Trek on a high winding trail that zig-zags through a forested area. The ascent ends at the village of Sipche. Cross the Dumje Khola and climb up a steep path through a rhododendron forest towards a kharka with some huts.
Trek towards the Toro Gompa Glacier to your campsite at 3,880m. Climb up the lateral moraine for a view of the mountains: Ganesh I (7,429m), Ganesh II (Lapsang Karbo 7,111m), III (7,110m), and IV (Pabil 7,052m). From the Ganesh Himal Base Camp, retrace your steps to a river camp. Overnight Camp. (All meals)
April 16, 17, 18, 19, 20 and 21 - River camp to Chumling Tanjo (TSUM AREA)
From the Ganesh Himal area, trek to the Tsum valley area setting up camps at Chhekam (3,010 m/9,875 ft.), Burji (3,361 m/11, 027 ft.), Mu Gompa (3,700 m/12, 139 ft.) and Rachen Gompa (3,240 m/10,630 ft.). There is a rest or exploration day planned for at Mu Gompa. Overnight Camp. (All meals)
Tsum is derived from the Tibetan word "Tsombo" which means vivid. In ancient times the Tsum valley called "Tsum Tso Chucksums" which means thirteen provinces ruled as a single territory. The Tsum valley is surrounded by Baudha Himal and Himal Chuli to the West, Ganesh Himal to the South, and Sringi Himal to the North. Tsumbas, like their Tibetan ancestors, continue to practice polyandry.
April 22, 23, 24 and 25 - Lokwa to Lho (3,180 m/10,430 ft.) - Back on Manaslu Circuit
Manaslu from Bihi (Photo: Jwalant)
Trek through a narrow, dramatic gorge with towering walls, and past a thundering waterfall. Cross the river on locally-built bridges and then leave the gorge to climb to the small village of Deng (1,800m). The "Nupri" region starts here at Deng. Nupri translates to "the western mountains" and the people of Nupri are direct descendants of Tibetan immigrants who settled here in the early 1600s. Cross the Buri Gandaki again into the north bank and climb to the village of Rana (1,980m). Here, you will start observing mani walls (stones carved with prayers on their surface and stacked to form a wall) – a sign of Tibetan Buddhism being practiced in the area. The trail is level, then climbs and drops and climbs again to the village of Ghap (2,110m). Here, you will also walk through a kaani – an archway over the trail decorated with paintings or carvings on the inside. The mani wall in Ghap has elegant carvings said to have been made by a family of stone carvers from Bhi, high on the hillside above the village. Many of the carvings depict the Buddha in various meditative poses, and others are of Milarepa – the Tibetan hermit who traveled and meditated in this valley.
Walk through barley fields lined with mani walls and continue on towards a fir forest, where you might catch sight of the danphe –impeyan pheasant which is also Nepal's colorful national bird. Continue climbing into a dense, rhododendron-fir forest and enter Namrung (2,660m) through a stone kaani arch.
Beyond Namrung, the trail enters upper Nupri where the residents are more Tibetans than in lower Nupri. Climb past a mani wall and the many fields and houses of Barsam, then up through a fir-rhododendron-oak forest to a promontory. The trail passes through another stone kaani and enters Lihi (2,900m). Lihi is a closely-packed village with unusual architecture: the stone houses are grouped together into units of five or six that share a common roof and courtyard. Most roofs are made of heavy wood shingles.
Head towards Sho (2,960m), whose closely-paced houses you can see on the ridge ahead. From Sho, the views of Ngadi Chuli are spectacular. From here onwards, you will also encounter children who will hassle you for shim shim – i.e. sweets or candy. From Sho onwards and towards Lho (3,180m), you will also start viewing Manaslu, Manaslu North (7,157m) and Naike Peak (5,515m). Overnight tents. (All meals)
April 26 and 27 - Lho to Sama gaon (3,530 m/11,580 ft.)
Sama Gaon – or Ro, as the locals call it – sits in a bowl at the foot of the pastures leading to high peaks. There are two gompas (monasteries) here with unique architecture. The residents of Sama Gaon are Tibetan descendents, and they continue to maintain an active trade with Tibetans across the border. A lay over day is planned at Sama gaon. Overnight Camp. (All meals)
April 28 and 29 - Sama gaon to Samdo (3,860/12,660 ft.)
Trek to Samdo. Another layover day is planned for at Samdo for exploration and acclimatization. Overnight tents. (All meals)
Apri 30 and May 01 - Samdo to Bimthang (3,720 m/12,200 ft.)
The team on Larkya la pass
Trek to the base of Larkya la pass. This is a short day and we camp and go to bed early to prepare for an early and long pass crossing day. Camp is at 4,480 m/14,700 ft.
Cross Larkya la (5,100 m/16,700 ft.) to reach Bimthang. A long day which can take between 7 to 10 hours. Overnight tents. (All meals)
May 02 & 03 - Bagarchap (1,960 m/7,100 ft.)
You rejoin the main Annapurna Circuit trail at Dharapani and then follow it till Bagarchap. The trail to Nar-Phu turns right here. Overnight tents. (All meals)
Those NOT continuing on the Nar-Phu trek descend to Besi-Sahar with stops at Dharapani, Jagat and Bahundanda arriving in Kathmandu on May 06.
Those joining the group to Nar-Phu start trek at Besi-sahar on April 30 with stops at Bhulbhule, Bahundanda, Jagat and Dharapani.
May 04, 05, 06 and 07 - Bagarchap to Kyang (3,880 m/12,730 ft.)
Trek towards Nar-Phu. Overnight tents. (All meals)
May 08, 09 and 10 - Kyang to Phu (4,050 m/13,300 ft.)
Trail to Kangla pass
Trek to Phu. Two days are planned for at Phu for rest and exploration. Overnight tents. (All meals)
May 11, 12 and 13 - Phu to Nar (4,225 m/13,800 ft.)
Trek to Nar. An additional day is planned for at Nar for rest and exploration. Overnight tents. (All meals)
May 14 and 15 - Phu to Ngawal (3,675 m/12,500 ft.)
Trek to Kangla phedi. Again, retire early for an early and long day over Kangla pass to Ngawal. Overnight tents. (All meals)
May 16 - Independent trek over Thorung la or descend to Besi-sahar
Those NOT continuing on the Thorung la crossing descend to Besi-Sahar with stops at Dharapani, Jagat and Bahundanda arriving in Kathmandu on May 19.
Thorung la trekkers are responsible for all expenses from here on.
- All airport transfers; 1 full day sightseeing in Kathmandu with guide, vehicle and entry fees
- 4 nights twin-sharing accommodation in Kathmandu on bed-breakfast basis
- Transfer to trek-head and road-head at start and end of trek
- Camping trek as per itinerary with camp equipment, food, and camp staff
- Manaslu Conservation Area fee
- Annapurna Conservation Area fee
- Restricted area fee for Manaslu region
- High altitude pressurized chamber - Gamow Bag
- Staff insurance
Price does not include:
- Your international airfare, visa fee for Nepal, and international airport tax
- Personal insurance and emergency/rescue evacuation (required)
- Personal trekking gear including sleeping bag and down jacket
- Meals unless otherwise indicated on itinerary
- Bottled/canned beverages including soft drinks, alcoholic beverages and mineral water
- Tips and gratuities, and expenses of personal nature
This trek is rated challenging but is moderately paced. The trek involves daily hiking of between 5-8 hours but the entire trek involves lots of up and down. Highest altitude reached is over 17,700 ft. While the trek requires good physical fitness and involves walking through rocky terrain and landslides, no technical climbing experience is required nor do you have to be a very experienced hiker. This is a long trek to a remote region with minimum amenities and hence requires good mental and physical fitness.
Please ask us for references from clients who have previously trekked with us. Depending on their convenience and availability we will also be able to put you in touch with our Manaslu Trek 2008 participants who will be able to talk to you about their experience.
Additionally, we plan and organize journeys for hundreds of travelers each year. Feel free to ask us for references.
Photos from previous trek: Manaslu and Ganesh Himal 2008
Crystal Mountain Treks organizes treks and tours in Nepal, India, Bhutan and Tibet for hundreds of satisfied travelers every year. Feel free to ask us for references who can tell you about their experience with us.
WHY BOOK WITH CRYSTAL MOUNTAIN?:
There are over 500 and counting trekking companies in Nepal. We are aware that you have lots of options. But, we believe there are reasons we stand out from our competitors. We've listed some reasons here...
Land Line: + 977 1 4416813
Mobile phone: + 977 98410-00724