Kathmandu, Arughat, Jagat, Manaslu Conservation Area, Deng, Siring Himal, Namrung, Lho, Shyala, Samagaun, Pungyen Monastery, Samdo, Tilje, Dharapani
Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.
With its glacial lakes, icy waterfalls, endless views, and inspiring solitude, Manaslu is Nepal’s next great trekking region. On this two-week tour, you’ll discover that this challenging land rewards the intrepid. Diverse habitats are the standout, taking you up through bamboo forests and lush hills to the base of the world’s eighth tallest mountain. You’ll cross a pass at 17,103 feet and enjoy many days in the alpine wilderness, but there’s also all the comfort of teahouse trekking, with comfy...
Kathmandu – Arrival and Relaxation
When you land in Kathmandu, you’ll be privately transferred to a luxury hotel in the heart of the city, where the pedestrianized lanes of Thamel provide an exotic introduction to Nepal. You can easily explore on your own around here, with cafes, shops, and spas in abundance. Today is deliberately left free, which will give you time to relax and explore. There will be several great restaurant options at your hotel and within walking distance.
Kathmandu – Settling In and City Sightseeing
On your first full day in Nepal, your trekking guide will meet you after breakfast to provide you with a detailed brief on the route and current conditions. This is a chance to discuss your equipment, the day-to-day schedule, and any lingering concerns or questions. Trekking equipment shops can be found all around the hotel so that you can purchase anything you may be missing. Today you’ll also have the opportunity to stock up on snacks and treats to take on the trek. World Heritage Sites are scattered throughout Kathmandu, and for most of the day, you can explore, from the giant Buddhist pagoda at Boudhanath to monkeys at holy Swayambhunath, and distinctive temples and palaces around Kathmandu Durbar Square. Many are cracked while some have fallen, yet you’ll find an atmosphere of hope as you see how the World Heritage sites are being rebuilt after the 2015 earthquake.
Sotikhola – Driving Into a Land of Beautiful Mountains
Manaslu is remote, much like the 14 other 26,000 foot mountains around the world. Unlike Annapurna and Everest, there isn’t an easy way in by air, which is part of the appeal for those that trek here. Today, you will leave early and drive on a winding asphalt highway to Dhading Besi, then onwards on an exhilarating and mostly deserted road to Arughat and then Sotikhola. It takes six to eight hours to reach the end of the road, with sublime viewpoints all along the way. Your first glimpses of Mt. Manaslu and the Ganesh Himal range will excite you and help you overcome any travel fatigue.
Machha Khola – Dense Forests and Rice Paddies
This morning, you’ll begin to hike the trail, passing waterfalls and rolling rivers until you reach a thick forest. It’s cool amid the trees, which will provide some light relief on what can be surprisingly warm days at this altitude. The narrow trail opens out onto a vast landscape of rice paddies, and the colored roofs of Lapubesi will be your next compass point. This Gurung village is a lovely place to stop for lunch and start connecting with the region’s main ethnic group. In the afternoon you will cross bridges and follow the Budhi Gandaki River to Maccha Khola.
Jagat – Suspension Bridges and Quiet Villages
The following day, the trail will take you up and down as locals offer friendly smiles to wish you good fortune on your journey from their villages strung out along the route. Outside one community, you bathe in natural hot springs, which offers an interlude to the rugged winding trail. You’ll continue trekking after lunch to cross suspension bridges and climb stone staircases that connect these villages. It’s remote, and it’s wonderfully quiet around here, yet Jagat village only marks the boundary for Manaslu Conservation Area.
Deng – Deserted Gorges and Bamboo Forests
Today you travel into the protected area, and it will be a sign of things to come. Villages and settlements are spread out now, and Philim is the only place to stop as you hike past the terraced fields to the shade of majestic pine trees. A sheer and deserted gorge will take your breath away but bamboo soon surges, and this distinctive flora will keep you cool as you follow the river toward Deng. Spend the night in a small teahouse. By now you’ll be settled into the simplicity of the trekking rhythm where it’ll be just you and the mountains as you walk further away from the rest of the world.
Namrung – Viewpoints and Langur Monkeys
In the morning, you’ll wake with the sun, eat breakfast with a view, and start walking. Place one foot in front of the next, onward along the trail as you climb steeply toward Namrung. Today will be challenging, as you ascend more than 2,600 feet, and get closer to the alpine plateau. Gray langur monkeys accompany your journey while they call out from deep within bamboo forests. When the forest does not surround you, the viewpoints will instantly inspire you, and today will be the first opportunity to take in your proximity to the giant mountains. Siring Himal rises conspicuously, which is an unerring hint at how remote you now are.
Lho – Tibetan Culture and Chortens
The next day will be easier on the legs, as the trail weaves in and out of forests, first taking you to the village of Lhi. Small, ornate stupas juxtapose with barley terraces and the locals often come out to say hello. Then you’ll walk onward to Lho, where smiling, weather-beaten Tibetan faces impose a feeling of serenity. You’ll have time to visit the monastery here with opportunities to converse with the monks as well, which will be a time to understand the basics of Buddhist culture. As always you overnight in a teahouse, a warm and very comfortable accommodation that now connects the entire Manaslu trail. Until recently you needed a tent to trek here. You’ll be visiting when the region has only just fully opened up to a new audience of trekkers.
Samagaun – Glacial Rivers and Alpine Panoramas
Fabulous mountain views will dominate today’s walk as they rise like sentinels. Some are rugged and unruly as if nature is scowling in a show of power. Others seem hand-carved like nature created the landscape through painting. You’ll be able to reach out and touch them, as you will be walking on these massifs that are shrouded in snow and mystique. Tibetan culture is very much alive along this part of the trail. You’ll stop at chortens and monasteries that give the land such a distinctive look. Then, spend the night in Samagaun, where it’ll be time to enjoy a break.
Samagaun – Altitude Acclimatization and Pungyen Monastery
This morning, before you trek higher, you must acclimatize to the altitude. This two-week trail ascends gradually over ten days and has a good altitude acclimatization profile, which is safer and more comfortable than the Everest region. As the mantra goes you must trek high and sleep low, so walk up to Pungyen Monastery to meet the monks then return via Birendra Tal, a glacial lake that’s hauntingly beautiful and lonely. This will leave an afternoon to hang around the village and gain a first-hand understanding of local culture high in the Himalayas.
Samdo – Juniper Forests and Manaslu Basecamp
The following morning, Manaslu will be the towering part of the panorama as you keep climbing higher. Although the route passes in and out of forests, mostly juniper and birch, the day is memorable for the world’s eighth highest mountain. You’ll walk on Manaslu, rising steadily to the mountain’s base camp. Otherworldly views extend from here, and not just of Manaslu’s alpine neighbors. Tilt your head back to admire the brute brilliance of the mountain, such nuance on its slopes, such expressions of power coming down from above. While it doesn’t have the fame of Everest or Annapurna basecamps, this is still one of the world’s tallest ten mountains. So congratulate yourself on the achievement and take that feeling onwards to Samdo, a village where you’ll hear stories from Tibetan refugees.
Dharamsala – Magnificent Glaciers in the High Himalayas
Higher and higher you’ll go today as streams of Buddhist prayer flags and ornate Mani stones punctuate mountain close-ups. Calligraphic and cryptic, these stones narrate peaceful messages of hope and peace in a region that has always welcomed those on foot. While Manaslu has only recently opened to foreign trekkers, Tibetans and Gurungs living life on two feet have long covered the region. Larkya Glacier provides another distinguishable highlight of the trek and you’ll have uninterrupted views on this short day of steep ascending to Dharamsala.
Bhimtang – Crossing the Pass and Gazing Towards Annapurna
Crossing Larkya La will be tough. Over the course of the day, the trail will narrow into an almost unseen gap between huge mountains. Each step is harder than the last since both the altitude and rough terrain make progress slow throughout the day. However, it is an exquisite place to be as grand mountains on both sides surround you. While you walk westwards, Annapurna II replaces Manaslu as the landscape’s main compass point. It’s easier going during the descent, especially when you realize that this route has provided you with some of the Annapurna region’s highlights, and you still have only encountered a handful of other trekkers.
Tilije – Down Through the Pine and Rhododendron
Today you’ll begin your descent. The solitude is exquisite and by now it’s hard to imagine that anything else exists beyond yourself and the mountains. Wake up, eat, and then walk. That’s all there is to it, such simplicity will create such untrammeled escape from the modern world. In the encompassing silence you’ll able to connect with yourself, and unravel the threads of thought that get so knotted in fast-paced Western lifestyles. So pass rhododendron flowers and spend the night in Tilije, where Mt. Lamjung, yet another mountain, reveals its mighty head.
Besisahar – Walking and Driving Past the Mani Stones
The next morning, as you travel down the mountain you’ll pass through quaint villages and whole walls of Mani calligraphy. At Dharapani your route intersects with the Annapurna Circuit trail and the entrance point to Annapurna Conservation Area. For many this is the starting point of their trek. But for you it’s the end, a private jeep will take you back down to Besishar. Like always accommodation is in a teahouse. For many centuries teahouses have been simple, welcoming places for those on foot to get a hot meal and a comfortable place to rest their head and enjoy plenty of warming tea as well. As they’ve adjusted to foreign visitors the facilities have improved and during this trek, you’ll stay at the best teahouses available. They will provide you with a charming, comfortable, and easy alternative to camping and carrying all that bulky gear.
Kathmandu – Driving Back to Kathmandu Through Rice Terraces and Small Villages
Today you’ll travel back to Kathmandu, with an early start you’ll have time to stop for photos on the way before you explore the capital. Rice paddies fill the valley, beneath the now distant shadow of the world’s highest mountain range. It’s a much shorter journey down than on the way up, which leaves free time to rest and relax. Your hotel will be on the edge of the city and it has been chosen for its superb spa. Lie down for a trekkers massage and feel how the energy is rubbed back into your legs. While part of you may be exhausted, part of you will never have felt fitter since you’ve just walked through mountains and that indescribable feeling required both dedication and effort.
Kathmandu – Departure
On your final day in Nepal, you’ll depart Kathmandu after a relaxed morning in the city.
- Discover the sublime attractions of an off the radar Himalayan trekking destination Trek through a stunning collection of landscapes that feature monkey-filled forests, rice paddies, and villages, alpine plateaus and passes, and glaciers and rivers
- Enjoy some of the world’s ultimate mountainous panoramas, particularly as you pass Manaslu Base Camp and cross Larkya La
- Soak up the comfort of teahouse trekking with no camping required as you sleep in warm, comfortable accommodation along the route
- Embrace Gurung and Tibetan cultures, including intimate experiences in remote monasteries
- Connect with yourself as this two-week trek offers both a sense of escapism and a feeling of solitude
- Complement the trekking with a day of sightseeing in Kathmandu, a chance to explore the intricacies of this World Heritage Site
It was only around 20 years ago that the world started to hear about Annapurna, a breathtaking Himalayan region that was recently made accessible to everyday trekkers, not just serious mountaineers. While Annapurna put Nepal on the travel map, Manaslu is the country’s next great destination. Teahouses now line the entire trail, which makes for comfortable nights in remote lands. Cultural experiences add something extra. Most important of all for a long trek, the setting is otherworldly. You’ll ascend toward the base of the world’s eighth highest mountain – Mt Manaslu stands at 26,781 feet – cross a 17,103 feet pass and find yourself deep in the highest mountain range on earth.
Alpine panoramas and varied landscapes make the Manaslu trek very special. Like Annapurna, Manaslu takes you on a journey through a complete range of Himalayan habitat. As you walk along the world’s highest mountains, rice paddies extend from Gurung villages, forests are alive with monkey song, remote Tibetan monasteries sit on barren ridgelines, and glacial rivers dominate alpine plateaus. It will be a challenging trek as you rise more than three miles in altitude from Sotikholo to the Larkya La highpoint. You’ll ascend for more than half the trip although the descent will be surprisingly short and easy on the legs. After your one-way trek, you’ll be picked up on the other side of the pass, where the Manaslu route joins the Annapurna trail.
The ultimate highlight of the journey will be the lack of other trekkers. Even in peak season, it’s rare to see more than a handful of others on the trail. The solitude is sublime as you escape into a land without roads or Wi-Fi. You disconnect from the rest of the world and connect with the mountains, just you, the guide, and the trail for the duration of your tour. You’ll detox from everything in a landscape that’s often too beautiful for words. Photos rarely do justice here, and the inaccessibility of Manaslu will help keep this land pristine and unknown for decades to come. Since the area is not accessible via plane, you must walk into the mountains to experience how the landscape unfolds slowly over two weeks.
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$3,395 per person (excluding international flights)
Your Zicasso trip is fully customizable, and this sample itinerary is a starting place for your travel plans. Actual costs are dynamic, and your selection of accommodations and activities, your season of travel, and other such variables will bring this budget guideline up or down. Throughout your planning experience with your Zicasso specialist, your itinerary is designed around your budget. You can book your trip when you are satisfied with every detail. Planning your trip with a Zicasso travel specialist is a free service.
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