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For many years the Annapurna Circuit trek enjoyed the status of the world’s best trek. That changed when a jeep track was built connecting Besi-Sahar to Manang and Muktinath to Beni. Now, local entrepreneurs have begun building lodges along the Manaslu Circuit route and this trek is fast becoming popular and for many it is the new Annapurna Circuit Trek.
The trip takes you to the remote and less-frequented circuit around Manaslu – the world’s seventh highest mountain at 8,156m. The Manaslu region, located along the border of Nepal and Tibet, is both beautiful and fascinating. The trek is fairly long, but the rewards are well worth the commitment. The Manaslu area has been opened for trekking only since 1991. In addition to a Conservation Area fee, a restricted area fee is also required for this region.
This trek is geographically spectacularand culturally fascinating. The inhabitants of the lower Buri Ganadaki region 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 descendants of Tibetan immigrants who settled here in the early 1600s. The mani stone 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. The high pass of Larkya La (16,700ft) is one of the most dramatic pass-crossing in the Himalaya.
Crystal Mountain Treks operates treks and climbs in Nepal and Tibet. Crystal Mountain Treks has been in business for over two decades and employs only the best guides with a minimum of 15 years experience. We treat our staff with the utmost care and respect. Each staff member is provided high-quality equipment and paid higher-than-average wages. Our clients have commented that our treks provide a better value (we provide more for less) than other companies they researched, comparing services, quality and price. We are happy to provide references of people who have journeyed with us in the past upon request.
|Day 1||Arrival in Kathmandu||Kathmandu||1,340m/4,200ft|
|Day 2||Exploring Kathmandu||Kathmandu||1,340m/4,200ft|
|Day 3||Kathmandu to Arughat. Drive onward to Soti Khola.||Soti Khola||710m/2,350ft|
|Day 4||Soti Khola to Macchi Khola (6 – 7 hours)||Machhi Khola||910m/2,950ft|
|Day 5||Machhi Khola to Jagat (6 – 7 hours)||Jagat||1,410m/4,625ft|
|Day 6||Jagat to Deng (6 – 7 hours)||Deng||1,800m/5,900ft|
|Day 7||Deng to Namrung (6 – 7 hours)||Namrung||2,630m/8,750ft|
|Day 8||Namrung to Lho (5 hours)||Lho||3,200m/10,500ft|
|Day 9||Lho to Samga Gaon (3 hours)||Sama Gaon||3,530m/11,600ft|
|Day 10||Acclimatization day in Sama Gaon||Sama Gaon||3,530m/11,600ft|
|Day 11||Trek to Samdo (3 hours)||Samdo||3,860m/12,700ft|
|Day 12||Samdo acclimatization day||Samdo||3,860m/12,700ft|
|Day 13||Samdo to Larkya Phedi (4 hours)||Larkya Phedi||4,460m/14,700ft|
|Day 14||Cross Larkya pass (16,700ft) to Bimthang||Bimthang||3,720m/12,300ft|
|Day 15||Bimthang to Gho (6 hours)||Gho||2,300m/7,500ft|
|Day 16||Gho to Tal (7 hours)||Tal||1,700m/5,600ft|
|Day 17||Tal to Syange (7 hours)||Syange||1,080m/3,500ft|
|Day 18||Drive to Kathmandu||Kathmandu||1,340m/4,200ft|
|Day 19||Final departure|
Arrive Kathmandu. You will be met on arrival at the Tribhuwan International Airport. Transfer to Hotel. Day Free. Enjoy welcome dinner. Briefing during dinner.
Overnight Hotel Tibet.
Visit Pashupatinath, Nepal’s most sacred Hindu temple dedicateed to Shiva, with its two-tiered golden roof and silver door. Here, you’ll probably witness a Hindu cremation along the banks of the Bagmati River. Then drive to Bhaktapur, the city of Devotees, for lunch and a tour of the royal palace square. Bhaktapur is a medieval city inn the Kathmandu valley and is least disturbed by modern life. Here, you can absorb the architectural splendor of the five-storied Nyatapola temple, or the sculptural delight of the Peacock Window.
Overnight Hotel Tibet or similar.
MEALS: B, L
Board a chartered bus to Arughat. Continue towards Soti Khola. The drive can take up 8-9 hours.
From Soti Khola, walk through the low hills with terraced rice fields through villages inhabited by the Brahmin and Chettri ethnic groups enroute to Machha Khola. Then walk through wheat and buckwheat fields to reach hot-springs at Tatopani (930m/3,051ft). Spend some time soaking in the hot-springs, before heading out to Dobhan (1,000m/3,280ft). 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/4,625ft).
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.
Cross the Buri Gandaki again over a long suspension bridge at Ghatta Khola, then follow the route ustream. Climb up a steep incline to reach Philim (1,590m/5,216ft). Philim is a large Gurung village with fields of corn and millet. The hillsides become steeper beyond Philm until Aga.
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/5,905ft). The ‘Nupri’ region starts here at Deng. Nupri translates to “the Western Mountains” and the people of Nupri are direct descendants of Tibetans immigrants who settled here in the 1600s. Cross the Buri Gandaki again into the north bank and climb to the village of Rana (1,980m/6,496ft). Here, you wil 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/6,922ft). Here you will also walk throiugh 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, hig 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 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/8,727ft) through a stone kaani arch.
Beyond Namrung, the trail enters upper Nupri where the residents are of Tibetan origin. 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/9,514ft). Liho is a closely-packed village with unusual architecture: the stone houses are grouped togehterinto units of five or six that sharea common roof and courtyard. Most roofs a rre made of heavy wood shingles.
Head towards Sho (2,960m/9,711ft), 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 who may hassle you for shim shim- i.e. sweets or candy. From Sho onwards, and towards Lho (3,180m/10,433ft), you will also start viewing Manaslu. Manaslu north (7,157m/23,480ft) and Nalike Peak (5,5515m/18,093ft).
Samagaon – 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 Samagaon are Tibetan descendents, and they continue to maintain an active trade with Tibetans across the border. A lay over day is planned at Samagaon during which you can trek towards the Manaslu Base Camp. Overnight Lodge.
Trek to Samdo. Another layover day is planned at Samdo for exploration and acclimatization. Overnight Lodge.
Trek to the base of Larkya la pass. This is a short day. Retire to bed early to prepare for an early and long pass crossing day. Camp is at 4,480m/14,700ft.
Cross Larkya la (5,100m/16,700ft) to reach Bimthang. A long strenuous day, which can take between 7 to 10 hours. Overnight Lodge.
You rejoin the main Annapurna Circuit trail at Dharapani and then follow it till Bagarchap. The trail to Nar-Phu turns right here. Continue to Jagat where the trek ends. Overnight Lodge.
A chartered 4 x 4 will bring you to Kathmandu. The section from Syange to Besi-Sahar is on jeep track through bumpy winding roads that follow the Marsyangdi River southward. From Besi-Sahar, it is a small paved road until Dumre from where you join the main highway in Kathmandu.
Overnight Hotel Tibet or similar.
Transfer to the airport for final departure.
Per person price (valid until December 31, 2019)
Expert pre-trip advice and detailed information | Motivated, well-cared-for staff | All airport transfers | 1 full day sightseeing in Kathmandu as in the itinerary and entrance fees to monuments | 3 nights twin sharing hotel accommodation at Hotel Tibet (3 star) in Kathmandu | Chartered Bus: Kathmandu to Arughat and Besi-Sahar to Kathmandu | Meals as indicated in the itinerary | Lodge trekking as indicated in the itinerary | Three meals a day | Boiled water for your bottles three times a day | Guide and staff wages, equipment and meals | Guide and staff insurance | Annapurna Conservation Area Fee | Manaslu Conservation Area Fee | Manaslu Restricted Area permit | Gamow Bag
Your international airfare, Nepal Visa, Meals not indicated in the itinerary, Tips and gratuities, Personal equipment (a suggested list will be mailed to you), Travel insurance (Required), Other expenses of a personal nature
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Crystal Mountain Treks provided comprehensive pre-trip information. Staff was incredibly well cared for with appropriate gear. We experienced the 7.8 magnitude earthquake after crossing Larke La Pass on the Manaslu Circuit Trek. Many other trekkers were left to figure out logistics on their own, whereas Crystal Mountain staff remained with us. There was little available information following the earthquake, but staff was able to communicate with other Nepalis to figure out our safest plan. We are forever grateful to Crystal Mountain for an incredible adventure and for surviving an intense experience together. Rajbeir, Sune, Khadga, and Padum were constantly professional through our entire trek.