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The Manaslu trekking can be described as one of the most beautiful trekking routes in the valley, lying under the majestic Ganesh and Sringi Himal. The majestic Manaslu will be reached after a five days’ trekking from Arughat in the Gorkha district. The trail provides pristine mountain views, a rich cultural experience and genuine adventure around the 8156m Manaslu, also known as Kutang: the eighth highest mountain in the world. Manaslu means “Mountain of the Spirit”, and comes from the Sanskrit word Manasa, meaning “intellect” or “soul”. The mountain’s long ridges and valley glaciers offer feasible approaches from all directions, and culminate in a peak that towers steeply above its surrounding landscape, and is a dominant feature when viewed from afar. The Manaslu area is fully covered by of imminent high Himalayan mountains, passes, deep gorges and culturally enriched by many gompas, chortens, and mani walls. The trekking trail follows an ancient salt-trading route along the Budhi Gandaki river. En route, 10 peaks over 6,500 metres (21,300 ft) are visible, including a few over 7,000 meters. The highest point reached along the trek route is the Larkya La at an elevation of 5,215 meters. Tip: watch the beautiful images for this trip, made by Karine Arnoldi!
All year long upon client’s request, best trekking time in the dry months between september and april.
It is also possible to do this trip with private transport from Kathmandu – Aarughat and from Besi Sahar – Kathmandu.
Do not forget to also watch our beautiful pictures for this itinerary, all made by Karine Arnoldi!
Follow the ancient Tibetan trade route and cross Larkya La pass at 5215m
Day 01: Arrival in Kathmandu, o/n in a hotel +D
A staff member of Himalayan Dream Team will pick you up at the international airport for your transfer to the hotel. As a welcome you will have a typical Nepalese dinner with some of the staff members, typical food coming up! And do not forget to try our typical Nepalese drink with great mood of cheers.
Day 02: Sightseeing in Kathmandu, and preparation for special permits o/n in a hotel +B
Today we start with the Kathmandu sightseeing tour and visit the 3 well known temples: Swayambhunath Stupa also known as the Monkey Temple, Boudhanath Stupa (where you can enjoy a fine lunch on one of the many roof terraces) and the most holy and impressive Pashupatinath Temple. All entree fees included! In the afternoon we return to your hotel in Kathmanadu.
Day 03: Drive to Aarughat (535m, 7/8hrs) o/n in lodge +B/L/D
No time to loose as we are ‘saddling up’ for our trek! First, we drive in 7/8 hrs from Kathmandu into the western mountain area to Arughat via Dhadingbesi, headquarter of the Dhading district. It is a long, but picturesque drive through the central hills to Malekhu, then a secondary road brings us to DhadingBesi.
Day 4: Trek to Lapubesi (787m, 6/7hrs) o/n in lodge +B/L/D
After breakfast early morning our first walking day starts with ascending gradually crossing the small villages of the Gurung tribes. The Gurung have a rich tradition of music and culture. Their traditional occupation was based on sheep herding, trans-Himalayan trade and farming. In the 19th and early 20th century, many Gurung were recruited to serve in the British Army and Indian Gurkha regiments. Today, the Singapore Police, Brunei reserve units and the French Foreign Legion incorporate ethnically Gurung members. After lunch the trail goes ahead following the Budi Gandaki River. The Budi Gandaki drains the eastern slopes of two great mountains, the Manaslu and Ganesh Himal. In the afternoon the trail goes down allows you to walk through the forests and a few waterfalls. We will stay overnight at Lapubesi.
Day 5: Trek to Machhakhola (825m, 5/6hrs) o/n in lodge +B/L/D
Today’s second trekking day moves us further passing increasingly amazing landscape and alpine panorama’s. Following the river bank of BudhiGandaki, the trail ascends gradually, and passes through dense forests. After we pass some gorges and waterfalls we ascend to Machhakhol, while passing some more Gurung settlements, and crossing few times the river. At the edge of the hills far away we see the glimpse of Sringi Himal (7.187 m). It takes just an extra few hours to the enchanting village of Machhakhola. The scenery during our walk is stunning. Also the crossing of the suspension bridges is quite adventurous.
Day 6: Trek to Jagat (1330m, 6/7hrs) o/n in lodge +B/L/D
Today our trekking day starts with a steep descend via the hundreds of stone stairs to the BudhiGandaki. We cross it by a spectacular suspension bridge. Again we follow the river that allow us to see the beautiful river valley and at the horizon the snow capped mountains like Buddha himal and SirangiHimal. On this day we formally enter the Mansalu Conservation area and end up in our overnight destination, Jagat.
Day 07: Trek to Ngyak (2310m, 5/6hrs), o/n in lodge +B/L/D
After ascending to a terraced hill of Saguleri and enjoying the views of Sringi Himal (7177 m) we continue toward Sirish Gaon The Gandaki valley narrows from herewith soaring precipitous walls. The Sringi Himal lie just south of the Tibetan border.
Day 08: Trek to Ghap (2100m, 6/7hrs) o/n in lodge +B/L/D
After breakfast we follow the trail upstream of the Deng River – and come across a tiny village of just four houses. We walk through a newly built rock tunnel from here, thereby avoiding the traditional steep climb. At Ghap, the Tibetan culture starts influencing our trail by many Mani stones and chortens all around. Mani stones are stone plates, rocks and/or pebbles, inscribed with the six syllabled mantra of Avalokiteshvara (Om mani padme hum, hence the name “Mani stone”), as a form of prayer in Tibetan Buddhism.
Day 09: Trek to Lho (3200m, 5/6hrs) o/n in lodge +B/L/D
Today is an especially wonderful trekking day; after passing through the seemingly deserted seasonal village of Nambachhe, planted with fields of barley and lined with mani walls, we ascend through a dense, cool forest for an half an hour. Again we will be crossing the Buri Gandaki once more on a wooden bridge, to Namrung, at 2540 meters, where we will stop for a cup of tea at a lodge run by a Tibetan family. Above this village the valley opens out and gives us colorful, wide panorama’s. A few hours later, we reach the village of Lihi at 2840 meters, which is a substantial altitude gain. From here our climb will be gently, crossing a large stream flowing down from the Lidanda Glaciers. We are heading for the picturesque Tibetan village of Sho at 3000m, where we stop for lunch. Look for the bear claw on the upper deck of the house, and across the river to the ruins of an old Tibetan fort. From Sho, the views of Ngadi Chuli are spectacular, and further on, towards Lho, we are finally treated to views of Manaslu itself; quite an impressive afternoon! We set up camp in Lho, a lively village adorned with many prayer flags, in the yard of a small lodge. Here we will really be rewarded with a magnificent sunset and sunrise.
Day 10: Trek to Sama Gaon (3500m, 6hrs) o/n lodge +B/L/D
After a hopefully clear view with breakfast we start walking through the upper reaches of Lho, with the snowy peaks of Manaslu ahead of us in the distance, we pass the new gompa and then ascend through light forests next to a small river to reach the Tibetan settlement of Shyla, where the villagers are often out in the fields working. Another few hours of trekking through this alpine scenery leads us past Tibet grazing settlements to Pung Gyan Gompa, and then Sama Gaon, or Ro, as the locals call it. Sama Gaon is situated in a bowl at the foot of the pastures leading to the high peaks, with colorful mani walls, a small gompa and tightly packed rows of houses at the lower reaches of village. The people settled here from Tibet over 500 years ago, and the two gompas that date from this time, both having unique architecture and built of wood.
A gompa is a Buddhist ecclesiastical fortifications of learning, lineage and sadhana (that may be understood as a conflation of a fortification, a monastery or nunnery. Their design and interior details vary from region to region, however, all follow a general sacred geometrical mandala design of a central prayer hall containing a Buddha murti or thangka, benches for the monks or nuns to engage in prayer or meditation and attached living accommodation.
The Tibetan villages here have entrance gates which are very distinctive from the Tibetan ones, and they maintain an active trade with their co-religionists in Tibet (notice the Chinese brandy and beer on sale). If the weather is good, you will see the village women weaving wool (baal) from Tibet into gowns – which are then traded back to Tibet. Taxes were actually paid to the Dzongka Dzong (fortress) at the border of Tibet, a few days walk from Sama Gaon, as late as the 1940’s until it was taken over by the Gorkas in the late 19th century. Later, after 1959, the region was home to Tibetan guerillas, and thus closed to trekking until 1992.
Day 11: Trek to Samdo (3850 m, 5hrs) o/n in lodge +B/L/D
Today after breakfast we first follow an easy three hours route. En route we pas the long mani walls at Kermo Kharka, after which we spot the entrance chorten of Samdo high on a bluff. We descend back to the Bhudi Gandaki and cross a small bridge before another short climb to the ‘kane’ entrance of Samdo; look back down valley for great views. The villagers of Samdo came across the border from the village of Riu after 1959 and built their new village here, at their old herding settlement. Samdo village is a collection of houses and lodges at 3850 meters, and most trekkers miss the heat of a week ago as we huddle around the stove and a wind from Tibet batters the windowpanes. Get out and take a walk around the village, where the inhabitants live an essentially Tibetan lifestyle, herding their yaks, sheep and goats, training their horses and planting barley.
Day 12: Rest day in Samdo and exploration, o/n in lodge +B/L/D
A genuine rest day today in the beautiful scenery! Today we can take rest and look around or we can make wonderful day trip to the border of Tibet; no passport required. It takes five hours walking to the Gya La (‘large pass’) to do just that, and then take in the views and ruminate on the border markers at the top: ‘China, 1962.’ We will probably share the trail with groups of Samdo residents, carrying timbers over the border to Tibet. Like the people of Ro, Samdo inhabitants are Tibetan, and were ceded the land by the king of Jumla over 500 years ago; but, unlike the Ro people, they only claimed their land after the Chinese takeover in the early 1950s. Since then they have established a trade with China and India, marketing among other things, the aphrodisiac root that grows in the region. We’ll try to get into some of the local houses for chang (Tibetan barley beer), salt butter tea and perhaps a few carpets to buy!
Day 13: Trek to Dharamsala/Larkya Phedi (4460m, 4/5hrs), o/n in lodge +B/L/D
Today we will follow the ancient trade route to Tibet and climb through the ruins of Larkya bazaar, one of the trade markets that flourished years back. After two hours of climbing past glaciers, with increasingly awe-inspiring panoramas, we come to the campsite at Dharamsala, where we have lunch and gaze out at the views. You’ll really feel the altitude and the cold here, so enjoy a more leisurely afternoon and keep warm on this high altitude.
Day 14: Cross Larkya La (5215m) and trek to Bimtang (3590m, 6/7 hrs) o/n in lodge +B/L/D
A breathtaking moment awaits us today as we go to the highest point of the trek! After a short climb above the campsite, we reach the ablation valley on the North side of the Larkya Glaciers where we have views of Cho Danda and then of Larkya Peak. We continue across the moraines of the glacier, making a gradual ascent which becomes steeper only in the last section to the pass, which should take us about three hours to crest. From the pass, there are outstanding views of Himlung Himal, Cheo Himal, Kangguru and the huge Annapurna II. If there is fresh snow, we may see Snow Leopard prints from the evening before; it’s also blue sheep (Bharal) and Tibetan Snow Cock territory. The views from the top at 5.215 meters (!) of the pass are truly unbelievable. After hanging our Tibetan prayer flags, and yelling ‘Ki ki so so lha gyalo’ (may the Gods be victorious), get ready for a steep, ankle straining drop to a trail following the glacial moraine, very slippery if covered in snow so have your ‘Yak tracks’ ready if you’ve brought them, and definitely use trekking poles. It is a longer day then usual to our overnight stay at Bimtang, but to walk into these low pastures with the evening mist coming in and Manaslu; it’s an experience not to be missed. A boulder-strewn descent brings us, finally, down to Bimtang,
Day 15: Trek to Tilje (2500m, 4/5hrs) o/n in lodge +B/L/D
After a well deserved good rest we start this day from a ridge at Bimthang, where we can enjoy great views of Mt. Manaslu, Lamjung Himal, Himlung Himal and Cheo Himal. We descend further and cross a high pasture (Sangure Kharka) followed by a bridge over Dudh Khola. We walk through rhododendron forest and follow a trail through a narrow valley until we reach the highest cultivated land of the valley at Karche, 2785 meters. We pass across fields before making a steep climb over a ridge. The trail comes off the ridge in a big, sweeping arc to the river bank at 2580m.
Day 16: Trek to Tal (1725m, 4/5hrs) o/n in lodge +B/L/D
We move further down and climb over a small ridge and enjoy the stone paved trail as it passes through a beautiful village. We then cross the bridge over Dudh Khola and climb up through a chorten-shaped arch, pass a mani wall and reach the Thonje village. At the village, we go through a police checkpoint and continue to Dharapani. We have entered the Annapurna circuit section from Dharapani. Further down, we come across Karte village and after quite a bit of walking we cross a bridge over Marshyangdi Khola. We also come across some mani walls before reaching the village of Tal, situated at the foot of a large waterfall.
Day 17: Trek to Baundanda (1275m, 4/5hrs) o/n in lodge +B/L/D
After breakfast we will ascending gently for 30 minutes and the trail runs down to Sanjee village, then the trail goes up for 15 minutes to Gharmuu Phant. From here another 2 hours easy walk and 30 minutes up will take to the village of Bahundanda.
Day 18: Trek to Beshisahar (4/5hr) o/n in in lodge +B/L/D
It is our last walking day today which takes a five hour walk through gentle, muted hills and colorful villages to Bhulbhule and Khudi, where we will meet our transport back to Besi Sahar.
Day 19: Drive back to Kathmandu (6/7hrs), o/n in a hotel +B/L
No more walking today, as we will be enjoying the ride back to Nepal’s capital city. It is a different world back in the Nepali hills, and our minds probably are still with the mountains. In Kathmandu we will drop you off at your hotel where you will have a fresh hot shower and relieve your muscles maybe with a rewarding Aryuvedic massage.
Day 20: Rest day Kathmandu, o/n in a hotel +B
Today you can visit Thamel for some last day shopping of souvenirs which are plenty if you look well and take those pieces with you that reflects your adventure in the mountains.
Day 21: Transfer to the airport, +B
After breakfast we will transfer you to the international airport or you leave your luggage at the hotel for a later flight and enjoy a little bit more of Kathmandu before we transfer you.
Do not forget to also watch our beautiful pictures for this itinerary, all made by Karine Arnoldi.