Manaslu also known as Kutang is the 8Th highest mountain in the world at 8,163 metres (26,781 ft) above sea level. It is located in the Mansiri Himal, part of the Neplalese Himalayas, in the west-central part of Nepal. Manaslu means “mountain of the spirit”, comes from the Sanskrit word manasa, meaning “intellect” or “soul”. Manaslu was first climbed on May 9, 1956 by Toshio Imanishi and Gyalzen Norbu, members of a Japanese expedition. It is said that “just as the British consider Everest as their mountain, Manaslu has always been a Japanese mountain”
The Manaslu region offers a variety of trekking options. The popular Manaslu trek route is of 177 kilometres (110 mi) skirts the Manaslu massif over the pass down to Annapurna. The Nepalese Government only permitted trekking of this circuit in 1991. The trekking trail follows an ancient salt-trading route along the Burhi Gandak River. En route, 10 peaks over 6,500 metres (21,300 ft) are visible, including a few over 7,000 metres (23,000 ft). The highest point reached along the trek route is the Larkya La at an elevation of 5,106 metres (16,752 ft).
ROUTE GUIDE AND ITINERARY FOR MANASLU TREK
Day 01: The Manaslu trek starts from Kathmandu from where you can Drive to Arughat (525m) – Soti Khola (700m) which will take 7-8 Hours. There are 4-5 lodges for your pleasant stay.
Day 02: After a pleasant stay you can trek to Machha Khola (887m) which approximately takes 6-7 Hours. There are several lodges for your rest and comfort.
Day 03: The third day of your Manaslu trek starts from the Trek to Jagat (1345m), which involves 7 Hours. You will find some good lodges there.
Day 04: Fourth Day is about Trek to Deng (1860), in which you will take 6 -7 Hours. There are two good lodges out there.
Day 05: The fifth day of excitement is Trek to Namrung (2600m), for 7 Hours. Here you will find several descent lodges with WiFi service.
Day 06: On day six you start the Trek to Lho Village (3180m) which will take 4 Hours. Many good lodges available there.
Day 07: You start your seventh day with Trek to Samagaon (3520m).It will take 3-4 Hours of walk. Several lodges are available here.
Day 08: Day Eight is all about rest and acclimatization. You can explore around and relax or hike to Pungyen Gompa / Manaslu Base Camp.
Day 09: Again on ninth day you Trek to Samdo (3860m),with a 3 Hours of walk. You will get some reasonable lodges here.
Day 10: Tenth day you will Trek to Dharma Saala (4460m) which is a 4 Hours of trek. Two basic lodges are available here.
Day 11: You will start your 11th day with a Trek to Bimthang (3750m) via Larke La (5135m), Many good lodges are available here at this point.
Day 12: Day 12 will take you for a Trek to Goa (2560m) which will take 6 Hours. Many good lodges are available here.
Day 13: Your second last day for Manaslu Trek starts with a Trek to Chyamje which will take 6-7 Hours. You will find many good lodges at this point.
Day 14: The last day of your exciting Manaslu Trek starts with a drive to Besi sahar and connecting drive to Kathmandu.
Mount Manaslu offers many routes to the climbers to reach the common peak. Altogether, there are six of them – the standard route or the northeast face, the southern face, the eastern ridge, the west face and the south east face. The sixth route that has been used only once to reach Manaslu Summit by the Joint Services East Nepal Expedition team, a British expedition team, in 1983. They took special permission from the Nepalese Government to use the route to climb Mount Manaslu. Northeast face is preferred mostly to climb Manaslu Mountain. To get more idea about six different route, we have published an artice on it. You may find it here: Six Different Route to Climb Mount Manaslu.
BEST TIME TO PLAN MANASLU TREK
1. LATE DECEMBER TO EARLY MARCH
You will be feeling the chilly and cold winds but it will be balanced out by the sight of frozen waterfalls and rivers. However, above the village of Namrung, you will have to trek on snow covered trails, and it is too risky to try to reach Manaslu Base Camp. Due to the lodge at Dharmasala being closed for the winter, the Larke Pass needs to be crossed in one day. That is a minimum of 12 to 13 hours.
Level of Difficulty:
You will need proper technical gear, as well as proper winter apparel. This time of year is best suited to those with extra stamina and some experience of using snow and ice gear.
2. MARCH TO LATE MAY
During this time the Rhododendrons start to bloom and Birendra and Ponkar Lakes starts to melt. Villagers who had gone down to nearby cities for the winter have started to return home, and by mid-May you will see climbing expeditions around Manaslu Trek. Although there may be the occasional snowfall, by mid-May it is very hot at the starting and ending points of the trek so you should be prepared for this also.
Level of Difficulty:
You will not need any Snow gear as any snowfall will not last long, so it’s good for those with no technical experience.
3. JUNE TO MID SEPTEMBER
During this period rain has washed everything clean and the scenery of forests and pastures is lush and green. However, this means there are mosquitoes and bugs around! And beware of leeches, which, while not serious, are also not pleasant. The trails will be slippery, small streams will have grown so that it is not possible to cross by the smaller wooden bridges so it may take a little more effort to walk to the higher suspension bridges. And you should be aware that there is the possibility in this season of landslides.
LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY:
You should take a little more care for manaslu trek during monsoon specially on slippery trails. June, July, and August are the months with the most amount of rain.
4. LATE SEPTEMBER TO MID DECEMBER
This is undoubtedly the best time to trek in Manaslu – a ten on ten! The price of the restricted permit also goes up in the season.
It is neither too hot or too cold, the sky is blue and views of the snow mountains are perfectly clear. It is also the ideal time to climb the Larke Peak. On the downside, this ideal window of time attracts others too. There will be more trekkers on the trails and you may also meet those participating in the Manaslu Marathon.
Level of Difficulty:
Evenif you are not a marathon runner, this is the ideal time to visit Manaslu! So the period of late September to mid-December is the best time to plan your Manaslu Trek.
PACKING LIST FOR MANASLU TREK
#1 SLEEPING GEAR FOR MANASLU TREK
A good quality sleeping bag is a must for trekking not only in Manaslu trek but anywhere. Though the tea houses provide you with a blanket, it may not be enough for you at high altitude. It’s best to come prepared.
The four season sleeping bag is highly recommended. It is the perfect balance between warmth, weight, comfort, and functionality.
Sleeping Pad/ Sleeping Bag Liner
These are optional and they add extra warmth to a sleeping bag. It also provides comfort if you plan to hire a sleeping bag instead of bringing your own.
If you cannot sleep without a pillow, you can bring a small inflatable pillow.
These are optional but of great use, if you are a light sleeper. What if you have a room partner who snores?
#2 TREKKING CLOTHING FOR MANASLU TREK
In the Himalayas, you will experience all the seasons in a day. The weather can change within a matter of an hour. So, when trekking it is advisable to dress in layers.
You will basically need to have three layers or more, depending on your ability to withstand cold.
The base layers
This is a thermal top like the heat tech which traps heat and does not allow the wind to enter. It is most important for the colder section of the hike.
The second layer
This includes a t-shirt (long sleeved or short sleeved). Keep in mind to bring t-shirts that are lightweight, comfortable and quick drying. You also need a fleece jacket which is water and windproof.
The third layer
The third and the outermost layer is usually jackets and trousers. They must be windproof and waterproof.
As for the lower body, convertible pants are the best option. You can start by wearing full pants when starting the activities early morning. Then, you can transition to sorts when it is gradually getting warmer during the day. Just easily zip the lower part off.
#3 FOOTWEAR FOR MANASLU TREK
During the manaslu trek, the maximum amount of heat loss is through your head and foot. So to keep yourself warm, you have to keep your head and feet warm.
Warm thick socks with padding around the toes and heels are advisable.
As for shoes, you need a pair of sturdy but comfortable hiking boots. A good quality hiking boot is important with ankle support. It is also important to get waterproof boots to stay warm and elongate the life of the boot.
Get the right sized shoe and break it in before you start the trek. You wouldn’t want blisters on the first day of the trek.
Besides the hiking boots, you need a pair of comfortable trainers or trekking sandals. After trekking for long hours you will need them to walk around the area comfortably.
If you are planning to trek in monsoon season, gaiters are good to keep your boots dry from the inside. And, you can also use it to prevent mud, stones and even leeches.
#4 HANDWEAR FOR MANASLU TREK
Inner gloves must be a lightweight, quick-drying ideally made from fleece materials. It works as a base layer under the insulating gloves and helps you to do minute work with it.
Likewise, outer gloves are like outer layer jacket. Thus, it needs to be warm, waterproof, and durable.
#5 HEADWEAR FOR MANASLU TREK
The sun is extremely strong at high altitude. Especially if there is snow. It reflects light, it could be very difficult to keep your eyes open for a long period of time. So, it is better to get a dark and UV protection sunglasses.
Though the temperature is low, there will be high radiation of UV rays. So, you need to wear a sun hat, sunglasses, and a high SPF sunscreen.
As you reach higher altitudes on the Manaslu trek, it gets colder during the mornings and night.
So, using a warm hat, preferably a heat retention hat. You can also bring a buff, which is a versatile piece of fabric. You can use it as a headband, cap, mask, neck gaiter and many more.
It will keep your neck and face warm from the chill wind.
TREKKING ACCESSORIES FOR MANASLU TREK
#1 Head Lamp with extra batteries
Carrying a headlamp will be great for mnaslu trek because you won’t be needing an extra hand.
It is great when you want to take a night walk or when you have to start your journey early in the morning.
#2 Water bottle
You need to keep yourself hydrated so that you don’t get altitude sickness. So, you need to bring a water bottle with yourself.
#3 Water Purification Tablet
You can bring water purification tablet from your country or even buy them here in Nepal. These tablets are only for backup or emergencies.
You will get boiled water or bottled water on the trail though for a few extra dollars. You can also choose to use the natural spring and river water but after purification.
#4 Trekking Poles
Trekking poles are very important while trekking. The rough and uneven terrain can be a lot for your knees especially while descending. Trekking poles will lessen the burden off your knees. Get a lightweight and fold-able trekking pole.
You might need crampons if you are planning to manaslu trek during winter (December- February). These are to walk without slipping in ice or snow.
The microspikes have small spikes which can help you walk on moderate ice or snow. They are very light in nature and is perfect for light packers.
#7 Day backpack
This day backpack is to carry all the essential items that you might want handy throughout the trek. It should be big enough to fit in all your necessary items but not heavy since you will have to carry it.
A bag with pockets and compartments and with waterproof cover is ideal.
#8 Duffel bag
This bag is what your porter will carry on the whole trekking journey.
It’s best to pack heavier stuff in this bag that you won’t need during the day but will need when you reach camp.
It should be light and comfortable with shoulder straps or luggage with wheels. The soft luggage is more preferable.
PERSONAL ITEMS FOR MANASLU TREK
#1 First aid kit
The Manaslu trail is pretty isolated, so you might want to bring along a first aid kit for emergencies. As you might not find a chemist shop or a hospital nearby.
Bring along your toiletries with you such as shampoo, soaps, toothbrush, toothpaste. Choose to carry travel packs. And feminine hygiene products for female trekkers.
#3 Hand Sanitizer
It is an easy and quick way to disinfect your hand when traveling, great to use before and after eating.
#4 Face/Body Wipes
It is next to impossible to shower every day during the trek. So, this is a great alternative to clean your face and body.
#5 Small Locks
It can be useful to protect your belongings in your backpack or duffel bag.
#6 Portable Charger
While carrying electronics like camera, mobile phone etc. you will need to charge it. It might be troublesome to find a charging point in your room or could have to wait for charging your phone. So, get a good portable charger.
TIPS FOR PACKING FOR MANASLU TREK
- You can buy or rent trekking gears in Kathmandu. Ask your guide or your travel agency to hook you up with some local stores that will rent you trekking gears.
- Some stores will also buy your trekking gears if you want to sell them after your trek. But please make sure you keep the receipts with you for a better price.
- You can leave your belongings at the hotel you stay in during the time you leave for the trek.
- It is, however, a good idea to have a large and visible name tag on the bags to avoid anyone taking yours by mistake.
- Please pack beforehand to avoid leaving things behind.
MANASLU TREK PERMIT COST
Manslu trek permit costs
USD 70.00 per person for first week and USD 10.00 per person each extra day
after 7 days from September to November
December to August: USD 50.00 for 7 days per person and after 7 days USD 7.00 per person.
You will need extra two permits that is ACAP (Annapurna Conservation Area Project) Entrance Permit. NPR 3000.00 per person MCAP (Manaslu Conservation Area Project) Entrance Permit. NPR 3000.00 per person.
The whole trip package is also very affordable for the adventure and natural beauty you are going to experience here!
Manasu Circuit Trek After Earthquake
When it comes to its route structure, Manaslu Circuit trek has undergone significant changes, especial on the lower parts, between Soti Khola and Jagat. The new trail requires the trekkers to walk on the eastern side of the Budhi Gandaki River, and thus replacing Machha Khola with Kasigaun. The route for the first two days of old route and new routr trek is different, the small towns and villages that the trekkers visit on the route have also changed. The main reasons for these changes are, firstly, the destruction of the routes caused by the earthquake that occurred in 2015, and secondly, the undergoing road construction that is said to join China and India after completion.
You may have a look at this article Manaslu Circuit Trek After Earthquake to gather more information on it.
You may also check other articles for more information: