From multi-day trekking to day-long hiking routes, Nepal has almost every kind of trek destination. But, when it comes to a classic blend of natural splendor and challenging trail, nothing can beat a short Manaslu Circuit trek.
Perched in west-central Nepal, the Manaslu Circuit Trek is the most incredible walk to the remote region of the Himalayas. It lies on the border of Annapurna Conservation Area to the west and the Tibetan Plateau to the east and north.
Unlike most of the Himalaya trek, Manaslu Circuit is less crowded, with a few travelers visiting the region. The scenery throughout the excursion is fabulous, with rolling hills, steep-sided valleys, beautiful highlands, and lush green pastures.
Travelers can explore ancient Tibetan monasteries, Chortens, and mani walls on a short Manaslu Circuit Trek journey. They can even catch sight of picturesque villages, towering peaks, and waterfalls.
Short Manaslu Circuit Trek starts with a 141.3 km drive from Kathmandu to Soti Khola. Afterward, we’ll take a walk to Machha Khola, passing remote settlements and crossing the Budhi Gandaki River.
The trail enters the Manaslu Conservation Area before Jagat and heads to Deng. On its way to Bimthang, a short Manaslu Circuit Trek passes through several villages, including Namrung and Sama Gaun. Upon arriving at the circuit, you can catch sight of eye-popping snow peaks like Himlung Himal and Annapurna II.
After exploring the circuit, we’ll descend the craggy trail through Larkya La Pass. Since most of the tracks are downhill to Dharapani, it’s relatively easier to steer the path. After reaching Dharapani, we’ll take a scenic drive to the valley, which takes 8-9 hours.
- Highlights of short Manaslu Circuit trek
- Best time for Manaslu Circuit Trek
- Short Manaslu Circuit Trek Itinerary
- Preparation of short Manaslu Circuit Trek
Highlights of short Manaslu Circuit trek
- Panoramic view of glistening mountains, including Himlung Himal, Annapurna II, and Kang Guru
- Insight into diverse culture and tradition followed by Tamang people
- Glimpses of deep valleys and lofty hills
- Unique wildlife and birds inhabiting in Manaslu Conservation area
- Explore the highest point in Manaslu Circuit, Larkya La Pass
Best time for Manaslu Circuit Trek
With the ever-changing weather and atmospheric conditions, it’s natural for trekkers to lift their eyes when trekking Manaslu Circuit. Fortunately for hikers, any day is a great day to navigate the trails of Manaslu. Provided the spectacular views and warm hospitality, trekkers will relish the trip except if they despise cold.
Manaslu Circuit Trek in Autumn
Autumn is a fantastic time to hike Manaslu Circuit, following a warm and fuzzy atmosphere. It’s the season with lovely weather and splendid views that’s in full swing. Navigating the trail is much easier during the month, with a gentle breeze coming from the mountain.
Autumn in the northern Himalayas starts from late September with beautiful daylight, brightly-colored foliage, and satisfying humidity. Leaves pop up in tinted colors across the valley, putting a scenic backdrop.
The weather is delightful at the time, with temperatures rising to 8 to 12 Degree Celsius. Visitors can catch a crystal-clear view of dynamic landscapes and snow-capped mountains, including Cheo, Gyaji Kang, and Annapurna II.
Read more on: Manaslu Trek in Autumn
Manaslu Circuit Trek in Spring
Manaslu Circuit trek in Spring is as incredible as it may seem, thanks to sunny days, fresh wind, and a marvelous view. With the last snow fading away in mid-March, the weather becomes nice and warm.
The season is astonishing by all means possible. The forest above the valley turns in vibrant green color with patches of grass. Full-bloom rhododendron and other wildflowers put on a spectacular display for visitors.
The atmosphere is calm and comforting throughout the trip. Nights and mornings can be a bit frosty at the start of the season. But, as the day goes by, the weather gets pleasant, and trekkers can relish the expedition, especially with the clear shot of snow peaks and landscapes.
Read more on: Manaslu Trek in March, April, May
Manaslu Circuit Trek in Winter
Not many trekkers are fond of hiking Manaslu Circuit during winter due to harsh weather. However, those who enjoy snowfall will indeed be delighted by the Manaslu Circuit Trek in the season. With the valleys turning into a winter wonderland, trekkers will get a picturesque backdrop.
However, they have to be cautious while walking uphill as the temperature can fall up to -20 Degree Celsius. As the trails are frozen, hikers have a tough time getting the grip unless the crampons are used. Snowstorms and fog often impede the traveler’s trip; therefore, one must stay updated with the weather forecast.
Manaslu Circuit Trek in Summer/Monsoon
With hot and humid weather, Summer can be an excellent time to trek Manaslu Circuit. Travelers can scramble the trail from the start of May and savor the impressive view of the Himlung Himal and Annapurna range.
As the climate is warm during the season, it gets less distressing for trekkers to scramble the trail. Unfortunately, as the monsoon makes its way in from mid-June, the climate becomes gloomy. The heavy rainfall causes the route to be murky and slippery to walk.
That’s not all; the dark clouds with thunder and dust storms continuously obstruct the views. The harsh weather also affects the schedule and often gets it delayed or postponed. Therefore, when trekking Manaslu Circuit in Monsoon, visitors have to be careful of the weather.
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Short Manaslu Circuit Trek Itinerary
Day 01: Kathmandu to Soti Khola
Maximum Altitude: 700 meters
Drive Distance: 141.3 km
Drive Duration: 8-10 hrs
Manaslu Circuit Trek kicks off with a scenic ride from Kathmandu to Soti Khola via Prithvi Highway. It runs through Dhading Bensi and Arughat, providing travelers an impressive view of the Trishuli river and the little town on the way to Soti Khola.
After coming across the hilltop and beautiful terrace farm, the route precedes the Budhi Gandaki River. It then has us crossing the suspension bridge and taking a snapshot of lofty hills for up to two hours before arriving at the village.
While following Budhi Gandaki River and even along the way, we’ll get to watch the snow-capped mountains such as Manaslu and Ganesh Himal. Overnight in a tea house at Soti Khola.
Day 02: Soti Khola to Machha Khola
Maximum Altitude: 900 meters
Trek Distance: 9.7 km
Trek Duration: 6-7 hrs
After breakfast, we’ll set off for a trail to Machha Khola, which fetches a stunning view of the gushing waterfall and tributary. The path scrambles up the hill and through the sal forest above the downrush of Budhi Gandaki River en route to Liding.
Trekking the rugged path, we get to Khursane, which offers a wonderful view of Annapurna Circuit. From there, we’ll descend the trail beside the rice farm to Labubesi, a small Gurung village. As the trail ascends over a steep ridge and down to the river, we’ll spend another 2-3 hours to reach the town. We’ll spend the night in a tea house at Machha Khola.
Day 03: Machha Khola to Jagat
Maximum Altitude: 1,370 meters
Trek Distance: 22.2 km
Trek Duration: 6-7 hours
Waking up to the stunning view of lofty hills and forest of Machha Khola, we’ll grab and go breakfast before heading to the trail. We start the expedition by following the gorge and up the river. The path is initially narrow with plenty of highs and lows that crosses Tharo Khola and climbs up to Khorlabesi.
After walking for a good few hours, the trail widens and then comes across the suspension bridge. We’ll then ascend the stone stairs and clamber the ridge to Dobhan before crossing another suspension bridge over Yaru Khola.
From Tharo Bharyang, we’ll ascend the hill, which provides a breathtaking view of beautiful valleys and forest. Shortly afterward, we scale up the ridge, trekking the west bank of Dudh Koshi River. Finally, after walking for 6-7 hours, we’ll arrive at Jagat, a beautiful village perched at 4,494 ft. high.
Day 04: Jagat to Deng
Maximum Altitude: 1,804 meters
Trek Distance: 19.9 km
Trek Duration: 6-7 hrs
The trek from Jagat to Deng is long, with winding trails to navigate. Thus, wasting no time, we’ll traverse the rugged terrain that makes its way through a lush green subtropical forest. Ascending the ridge to Salleri, the trail then slowly plummets to Sridibas from where the valley stretches out.
Crossing the Ghatta Khola river, the path rises to Phillim, a lovely Gurung village. From here, we’ll head north, making our way through millet fields and over the bridge. Walking the west bank of Budhi Gandaki River and trekking peaks and throughs on the east, we’ll arrive at the valley.
The trail has us strolling through the Bamboo forest and crossing Deng Khola River to get to the village. We can catch a mesmeric view of towering hills and snow-capped mountains—overnight in a tea house with the arrival.
Day 05: Deng to Namrung
Maximum Altitude: 2,630 meters
Trek Distance: 19.5 km
Trek Duration: 6-7 hrs
After a delicious breakfast in Deng, we shall begin our journey to Namrung. Like the previous day, we’ll start the trip by crossing the Budhi Gandaki River and clambering the steep hill from Bhi. We’ll maneuver the trail from the west of the valley and through the alpine forest, which provides marvelous scenery.
The entire walk to Namrung takes us 6-7 hours, passing through a village of Prok, which is incredibly charming. Visitors can catch a glimpse of Siring Himal from the hilltop before advancing to Budhi Gandaki. From the main upstream, the trail follows a narrow gorge leading to Namrung.
The last few hours of the short Manaslu Circuit trek are a bit exhausting with a continuous steep climb over a rugged hill. It’s scenic, though, as we get to watch the breathtaking mountain ranges, sweeping landscapes, and deep valleys. Overnight stay in a tea house.
Day 06: Namrung to Sama Gaun
Maximum Altitude: 3,530 meters
Trek Distance: 17.7 km
Trek Duration: 6-7 hrs
After breakfast at the village, we’ll take a short tour of the village, which comes with a glorious view of Ganesh Himal, Siring, and Churi. Slowly, we’ll come out of the village and start trail walking.
The 11 miles hike from Namrung to Sama Gaun kicks off with a steep climb and through the dense forest to Lihi. There are many Tibetan stupas and mani walls along the way, which travelers can explore. They can even visit the famous Ribung Gompa while progressing to Shyala village.
During the stop at the village, we can check out the towering snow peaks of Himal Chuli, Manaslu, and Ngadi. The route after Shyala is rough and uphill, taking a little bit more of our time. After reaching the SamaGaun at 3,660 meters, we can get a glimpse of Naike Peak, Manaslu, and Himalchuli.
Day 07: Sama Gaun to Samdo
Maximum Altitude: 3,875 meters
Trek Distance: 16.4 km
Trek Duration: 4 hrs
Stretching 10 miles from Sama Gaun, the trek begins with a gentle descent to the Budhi Gandaki River and over the bridge. We’ll then steer the trail off the mountainside, which provides a stunning view of shimmering snow peaks.
On the way to Samdo, we’ll run into many ancient mani walls and prayer flags. After getting close to the Tibetan border, the valley widens, and the trek becomes easier. From here on, the trail runs through birch and juniper forest in Khermo Kharka and a wooden bridge over Budhi Gandaki River.
After a gentle climb onto a headland between river forks, we’ll come to a stone gateway, which heads to Samdo. Upon arriving at the village, we can take a little peek at the rocky mountain and ravine. Tonight, we’ll stay in a tea house.
Day 08: Samdo to Bimthang via Larkya Pass
Maximum Altitude: 5,160 meters
Trek Distance: 20 km
Trek Duration: 8-9 hrs
After breakfast, we’ll continue our short Manaslu Circuit trek by descending the Budhi Gandaki River and crossing the bridge. Walking gently, we’ll head towards Salka Khola and clamber Dharmasala. The path then follows a beautiful valley, where you’re likely to encounter different species of wild animals.
After walking alongside the glacial moraine, we steadily climb up the hill to Larkya La Pass. The trails are craggy and steep here, with lots of boulders. Hence, we’ll have to be extremely careful while walking the section.
Sighting the marvelous view of Cheo and Annapurna II, we’ll helm the trail through the rhododendron forest and lush meadows. After climbing the ridge and passing several villages, including Gho, Tilije, and Dharamsala, we’ll finally reach Bimthang.
Day 09: Bimthang to Dharapani
Maximum Altitude: 1,860 meters
Trek Distance: 34 km
Trek Duration: 4-5 hrs
Early in the morning, after having breakfast, we’ll start trekking to Dharapani via a narrow ridge. Ascending the stone-paved trail, we head to Dudh Khola River that leads to the beautiful village of Thonje.
During the expedition, we’ll pass many remote villages, including Karche and Tiliche. The trial witnesses us crossing multiple suspension bridges and leaving the Manaslu Conservation Area. Down the road, we can see ancient monasteries and mani walls, which look splendid.
After walking for almost 4-5 hours, we’ll arrive at Dharapani, which offers the most stunning view of Himalayan ranges. We can sightsee cascading waterfalls, towering hills, deep gorges, and prehistoric Maniwalls—overnight in a lodge at Dharapani.
Day 10: Dharapani to Kathmandu
Maximum Altitude: 1,400 meters
Drive Distance: 118 km
Drive Duration: 8-9 hrs
On the last day of the short Manaslu Circuit trek, we’ll leave Dharapani and take a jeep ride to Kathmandu. The trip will last for about 8-9 hours, which can be exhausting for most of us. But thanks to the astounding view outside that energizes passengers. We can catch a stunning view of rolling hills and green meadows along the way. After arriving at the valley, we’ll transfer you back to the hotel where you can get some sleep.
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Preparation of short Manaslu Circuit Trek
Hiking may seem fun with impressive sightseeing, famous landmarks, and tranquil places. But, when the trek spot is as challenging as Manaslu Circuit with uneven and steep trails, trekkers have to be physically and mentally prepared.
Without proper training, it becomes extremely hard to navigate the rough terrains of Manaslu. Therefore, make sure to plan the schedule ahead of the trek to have enough time for exercise and other stuff.
Spend at least two months on training to improve physical endurance and stamina. Cardio exercise like jogging, cycling, and trail running is best to improve balance, so check it out. You can also spend quality time hiking a short distance trail to stand the rough tracks of Manaslu Circuit.
Travelers can experience a seasonal weather change during the trek. Hence, it’s always a wise idea to learn about the climate before trekking and set your backpack accordingly. The mental strengths of hikers are often put to the test during the short Manaslu Circuit trek. It’s; therefore, travelers mustn’t take any stress.