Manaslu circuit Trekking area is occupied with the overall perfect beauty of nature as one can view the unconditionally beautiful Himalayan ranges as well as cultural diversities along the trails.It will be relatively a new trekking experience that circumnavigates the Manaslu mountain (8,156m) standing tall and proud in the region. The trek has all the elements of a classical trekking experience including the Buddhist and Hindu cultural coexistence, fabulous mountain scenery, torrential rivers and streams, floral and faunal diversity, suspension bridges clad with the prayer flags, protected wildlife, and the indigenous culture. A good alternative to the much known and followed Annapurna Circuit Trek, it is popularly being preferred by the trekkers to get immersed in the wilderness and authentic village experiences. Still a restrictive trekking area, this trekking trail hosts fewer trekkers even though it is an offbeat path and offers an insight into the rural life unaltered for centuries.
Information about The Trek :
Manaslu region trekking starts by taking a drive from the capital Kathmandu on the interesting busy highway past many farm villages and town and then route diverts towards Gorkha area to reach low warm farm country of Arughat town.
Arughat located within semi-tropical temperature climate enriched with the agriculture of paddy and other crops where walk follows the raging Budhi Gandaki River fed from the glacier of Mt. Manaslu and its adjoining peaks. Where walk follows the river upstream past Soti, Maccha-Khola, Tatopani (a place with hot natural spring) unto Philm and Jagat villages with overnight stops in these nice villages where you can observe the local hill people various mid cultures of Hindu and Buddhism religions.
As walk progress heading much higher entering into cool alpine hills within the forested surrounding of tall rhododendron-pines-oaks-magnolia and fir tree lines then reaching high and scenic Manaslu valley, where landscapes, vegetation as well the culture dramatically changes as walk leads closer to the high mountainous area.
An interesting part of the walk is walking through nice villages of Dyang-Namrung-Bihe, Lo-Gaon with Sama-Gaon and Samdu enriched with strong Buddhist religion similar to Tibetan traditions and custom as the area situated close to the border of Tibet just across Samdu and Larke Phedi.
Manaslu region trekking takes you much higher after enjoying times with scenic views of mighty Manaslu range of mountains along with Ganesh Himal towards east direction, a great walk visiting and exploring local villages adorned with old heritage way of farm life in close vicinity of high mountains.
Around high Manaslu valley where tree lines and green vegetation disappears for only short bushes of dwarf rhododendron -juniper bushes with prickly Burberry shrubs as walk enters arctic zone of ice and glaciers at Larke Phedi, also called Dharmasala (resting spot with shades where at present provides few simple good lodges) as well called Larke Bazaar in earlier days.
With an overnight stop at Larke Phedi and Dharmasala after leaving the last village of Samdu, where climb leads you to the highest spot on top Larke-la pass at above 5,106 m which you can witness on a board, festooned with thousands of Buddhist Prayer flags that marks the top of Larke-la.
Enjoy spectacular views of Manaslu Himal range of peaks includes Bouddha-Sringi and Himal-Chuli with Ganesh Himal towards the east as well facing views of some Annapurna peaks and mountains of high Manang the Himlung Himal further northwest direction.
From the high top of Larke-la descend on a long path to reach at the bottom of the hill past some icy frozen ponds to reach back into the green forest of tall pines-firs and rhododendron tree lines to reach at Bhimthang, a small settlement within a large grassy field surrounded by forest.
After Bhimthang walk leads into the pristine forest on a narrow path past cattle and Yak herders temporary shelters of small huts and shades within green meadow towards a small place of Gho, where walk takes you to large Tilje village and at Dharapani village above Marysangdi River.
Dharapani and Tilje situated within Manang district all the way to Bhimthang after crossing Larke-la pass, Dharapani a large and spread-out village which is on famous and popular Annapurna Circuit route. Where the motorable road has reached to make it easier and shorter treks, however, trekkers can take a choice walking as far to Jagat or Syange village or take a drive from Dharapani village to reach Kathmandu or to Pokhara city.
Seasons for Manaslu Region Trekking:
Manaslu region which involves high pass Larke-la pass which might get snowed in early spring and late autumn and winter months.
The best time would be from April to May and September to mid-November months, late November it will be cold where most of the lodge and villages will be deserted as the local will migrate further down warmer areas to stay away from cold and bitter winter.
Why trekkers considering Manaslu Circuit Trek is growing:
At present, the region receives more than 20,000 trekkers every year. Of this total volume, Manaslu Circuit Trek alone contributes to 10% which translates to slightly over 2,000 footfalls. The statistics clear depict that it is the right choice to those who prefer crowd-less trail.
Renowned peaks such as HimalChuli, Ganesh Himal, Himlung and Larke Peak are other key attractions of this trek. The splendid view of Birendra Tal (Lake) and winding Budi Gandaki river further glorify the hike in this restricted region
The destination is listed under restricted or controlled because the government of Nepal did not permit outsiders/foreigners to visit this area prior to 1991. The site has been practicing ancient culture and traditions such as Bon. Hence, to preserve this unique culture of the area, the government categorized it as a restricted region which was later rolled back in the early 90s, after the restoration of democracy in the country.
In order to experience trekking in any trail of Manaslu region, enthusiasts still have to obtain restricted area permit. Additionally, the region is not the right choice for solo traveler as it requires a group of at least two persons.
From the aspect of natives, the trail acquaints you with two natives of this area—Nubri and Tsum. Interestingly, these two ethnic domains are divided by the branching of the river in the place called Chhikur.
Nubri has been visited often since the country opened for tourism in 1950. Whereas, Tsum valley is less visited as a result these ethnic groups are able to retain much of its uniqueness—culture, art, and traditions.
The central part of the region exposes you with Gurungs—ethnic group—who are famous for their valor throughout the globe. Similarly, the part of the area which shares a border with Tibet inhabits akin to Sherpa group called Bhutias. They are the group who follow the culture and traditions practiced in Tibet. The monasteries, mane walls and chortens seen here depict Tibetan art and architecture along with the influence of Tibetan Buddhism.
This region with natural diversity is protected by the Manaslu Conservation Area. It is home to 33 mammals such as snow leopard, blue sheep, grey wolf, musk deer and red pandas. If you are lucky enough, then you are likely to spot some of these mammals while on this trek.
According to a recent study, more than 110 species of birds—golden eagle, blood, crimson horned pheasant, etc.—over 10 butterflies and 3 reptiles are found in this conservation area.
One of the best parts of this trek is Larkya La Pass which is at an altitude of 5,160m—the highest point of the trek. Upon reaching at the top of the pass, you will get heart capturing view of Annapurna II (7,937m), Himlung (7,126m), and CheoHimal (6,812m). The view is simply MAJESTIC!
Last but not the least, with the construction of metal path (at Yaru Bagar) along with increasing number of teahouses on the trail of Manaslu Circuit, the site is gradually turning into a comfortable Trek site from a difficult Trek site.