We start our Manaslu trek from Arughat after the drive from Kathmandu. Trekking along the Budhi Gandaki river, the trail meanders, scrambles and climbs its way along the confines of the valley. Much of the round Manaslu trekking is in the region known as Nupri, an area of strong Tibetan influence with the trade route between the regions. As we trek higher the Hindu culture is being replaces by Buddhist features of Mani walls, Khanyi gates and Chortens as does the topography changes. This Manaslu circuit trekking region is a natural habitat for many elusive wild animals including the snow leopard, grey wolf, musk deer, Himalayan Thar and blue sheep, Keep your eyes open!! Trekking routes at lower Manaslu section is already rebuild which is being effected by the April 2015 earthquake and we have been running trips as per the regular Manaslu trek itinerary since spring 2016 – once again totally safe for trekking.
Day 01: Arrival in Kathmandu
Arrival in Kathmandu Tribhuvan International Airport and you will be met at the airport by our representative who will be waiting with a Aastha Adventure sign outside the terminal and transfer to Hotel by private car. Welcome drink and after you settle into the hotel there will be a group briefing with your tour leader. He will discuss the trek details and co-ordinate any last minute arrangements. Stay overnight at Hotel.
Day 02: Full Day Guided Sightseeing Tour in Kathmandu Valley by private van.
After brekafast in the hotel, Drive to Swayambhunath Stupa which is very close form the centre of Kathmandu. It takes some minutes to be there. This Temple is also known as Monkey Temple which is considered to be self made Stupa. Then visit to Boudhanath Stupa: the biggest stupa in Nepal and one of the bigger stupa in the world. You can basically experience Tibetan Buddhism, culture and way of life in Boudhanath Area. Boudhanath area is the authentic place to buy Tibetan stuffs. Again you will be visit Pashupatinath Temple and it is one of the most sacred temples in the entire Hindu world. It is a sacred place where Hindus come to die and to be cremated. The temple of Pashupatinath is a large double roofed, gilt pagoda, decorated with brass, the gateway is plated with silver. There are images of Shiva along with other statues, shrines and temples dedicated to other deities in the complex. A circuit of the Pashupati area takes visitors past a sixth-century statue of the Buddha, an eight-century statue of Brahma the creator and numerous other temples. There are rows of Shiva shrines and Hindu pilgrims from all over south Asia offering ceremonies to worship Shiva, the Lord of Destruction. Stay overnight at Hotel in Kathmandu.
Day 03: Drive from Kathmandu to Arughat Bazar 610m by land cruiser (5-6hrs)
A 4WD jeep/land cruiser may get you there more quickly but costs around. In Arughat (600m), a pleasant market town straddling the Buri Gandaki River (also called Budhi Gandaki on some maps), cross the suspension bridge and stay overnight at Lodge.
Day 04: Trek from Arughat to Lapubesi (6-7hrs)
Trek through Gurung and Magar villages on the untrafficked road, staying on the left bank (true right) of the Buru Gandaki, which you will be following to its source. It can be hot and humid so wet rice, maize and millet are the main crops and you may see monkeys in the forests. There is a simple lodge at Arkhet (760m). Climb on stairs as the valley becomes wilder, prettier and narrower and descend to Soti Khola (710m). There’s a swimming hole in the Soti Khola, popular with locals. Trek on through shady Sal forests then climb up and down for some time an exposed track blasted from the cliff and views way below of wild rapids, eventually dropping to the Gurung Labubesi (880m; Lapubeshi). Stay overnight at Lodge.
Day 05: Trek from Lapubesi to Khorlabesi 970, (5-6hrs)
Continue up-river, climbing sometimes and at other times down on the gravel riverbed, passing through Machha Khola (930m) where there is a small lodge. Continue on the same side of the Buri Gandaki, up and down again and across sandy river flats. The Monkeys and Langurs in the jungle above can knock rocks down, so watch out. Large Gurung villages are way above while the track passes few houses, like lower Khorlabesi (960m) which was largely destroyed by a huge rock slip 22 years ago. A survivor has built a botanic garden and nice lodge from which he sells his organic coffee. Goat herders passing through this area wear the distinctive smoke-browned capes called bokkhu made famous in the book Honey Hunters of Nepal. Stay overnight at Lodge.
Day 06: Trek from Khorlabesi to Jagat 1340m, (5-6hrs)
Continue up and down over a couple of ridges to Tatopani (930m; ‘hot water’) where there are hot water spouts under the sheer cliffs that provide a delightful evening shower. Climb over a ridge and cross the Buri Gandaki on a rickety suspension bridge, climb on well made marble stairs in the narrow valley for some time and through Doban (1000m; Duvan). Shyaule Bhatti 1hr later has large rock with views where you can take tea and look at the wild gorges ahead. After crossing a landslip and the bridge across the Yaru Khola (1363m), emerge onto river flats for lunch at Yaru (1140m) at the Sandbar Hotel. Look downstream at the massive rock fall that chokes the river. Just past Yaru, cross to the left bank and enjoy easy up and down to Jagat (1410m), a neatly Flag stoned Gurung village where Jagat (‘tax’) is collected on Tibetan trade. There’s a small lodge here and you will need to show your MCAP permit. In this area, potato, maize and climbing beans are all planted at the same time — the potato for food and to suppress weeds, the maize for food and to supply a trellis for the beans, which are an important source of protein. Marijuana is a major weed problem. Stay overnight at Lodge.
Day 07: Trek from Jagat to Deng 1860m, (5-6hrs)
Walk up the riverbed then climb over a rocky ridge to Salleri (1440m) with views of Sringi Himal (7187m), then descend to Sirdibas (1430m; Setibas, Tara) where there is said to be a lodge. You’ll see your first signs of Buddhist culture here. Continue up-river on the left bank, up and down before crossing Nepal’s longest suspension bridge to the east bank and a tiring climb up to prosperous Philim (1590m; Dodang) surrounded by rich fields of maize, potato and millet. Traverse north out of Philim on the obvious track signposted to the Larkya-La, through some pretty forest with views up the narrowing valley. After 1hr climbing enter the increasingly misnamed Ekle Bhatti (1600m; ‘lone teashop’) with at least six bhatti, then traverse high above a spectacular gorge, entering a largely uninhabited area of pine trees. Eventually drop to a trail junction going left to Ghap and right to the Tsum Valley. Cross the Buri Gandaki on a solid bridge and traverse to a welcome bhatti just around the corner for tea and a last look up the Tsum Valley. Enter a very narrow gorge with loose tracks, up and down, up and down. Cross to the east bank (true left) at one point and then back again to the west bank on a sloping suspension bridge. Enter Nupri (‘the western mountains’) through bamboo forests to Deng (1800m), inhabited by Gurungs who practice Buddhism. Stay overnight at Lodge.
Day 08: Trek from Deng to Namrung 2630m, (5-6hrs)
Just beyond Deng re-cross to the east bank and climb to Rana (1980m) and pass the trail up to Bhi (2130m; Bihi). The river roars below except one place where a rock fall has created a huge dam. Continue in and out of canyons, cross the Serang Khola coming from the north and climb steeply again before finally circling into Ghap (2160m; Tsak). The mani walls here and onwards as far as Bimtang often display intricate quality carvings of various Buddhas in meditation, incised in the hard local stone by a family of carvers from Bhi. There is a good classic lodge as you enter Ghap on the left and the Kyima Lodge still under construction further through town across the bridge, on the right and good camping ground A side-trip from a bridge below Bhi can take you up to Prok (2380m), with an ACAP office and emergency radio and an excursion to Kal Tal (3685m; Kalchhuman Lake), then back down to Ghap (according to Lonely Planet). Enter a beautiful forest of fir and rhododendron with many birds, staying on the south bank, cross north on a wooden bridge with a roaring narrow canyon below then cross back to the south bank on a second wooden bridge with grey langurs watching. The main trail now climbs on well-made stairs, but a shortcut to the right just after the bridge and along the riverbank is far quicker and through superb pine forest. Arrive in the neat village of Namrung (2660m) after about 1.5hrs from Ghap, with shops, a restaurant and the Thakali Lodge across the flag stoned square. While staying there it is worth wandering around the village, where carvings from Bhi have been painted in colors above a gateway. The architecture characteristic of upper Nupri starts here: several houses gathered together about a common courtyard and livestock shelters on the ground floor, with heavy wooden shingle roofs and log stairs to dark verandahs. Stay overnight at Lodge.
Day 09: Trek from Namrung to Samagaon 3520m, (6-7hrs)
Pass mani walls, fields and houses and enter the fir, rhododendron and oak forest before climbing to Li (2900m; Lihi, Ligaon) in 45mins, then onto Sho (2950m, Syogoan) where there is a bhatti. The platforms in the fields are where people keep overnight watches to chase bears from their crops. Most people from here onwards wear traditional Tibetan dress, with the children in small chubas like dressing gowns, asking for shim shim (Tibetan for candy). There are some particularly fine paintings in the kani (gate arches) that you pass under before Sho. A leisurely walks onwards, in and out of gullies to Lo (3180m; Logoan). Pity about the wedding-cake stupa donated from Taiwan which dominates this otherwise picturesque village focused on yak herding. There are excellent views of Manaslu (8163m) and Manaslu North (7157m) from the mani wall at the far end of the village and from the gompa on the hill to the west, worth the walk up. This long day takes you into the mountains with time to enjoy and acclimatize. Easy walk to Syala (3520m, Syalagaon, Shyaula) up a pine and rhododendron gully with moss and gin clear stream. Enjoy 360° views from here due to a fire and extensive deforestation. Another easy hour to the large village of Sama (3530m, Samagaon, Ro), losing the gigantic views of Manaslu but entering a world of yaks, pastures and houses which seem to have grown from the stones. Only potatoes and barley can be grown at this altitude. Stay overnight at Lodge.
Day 10:Acclimatization day. Hiking up to Manaslu Base Camp 4400m, (6-7hrs) and back. Stay overnight at Lodge.
Day 11: Trek from Samagaon to Samdo 3875m, (3-4hrs)
Another short day because of the altitude, with time to go via the iceberg-covered Birendra Tal (3450m) under the Manaslu Glacier, wade the exit stream depending on the time of year and drop down to pick up the main trail from Sama to Samdo. Easy walking through yak pastures up a broad valley with long mani walls, marmots in all directions standing on their burrows. Finally leave the tree line behind, although low-lying juniper is all around, climbing to a ridge and drop to cross the Buri Gandaki on a wooden bridge. It takes some time to reach the white kani above but immediately behind is Samdo (3860m), a very picturesque village dedicated to yak herding, so much so that there are more animal and fodder shelters than human accommodation. Side valleys and Samdo Peak call out for afternoon wandering but take a jacket as cold wind can come up at any time. You can see the main track for Tibet over the Lajyang La (Lajyung Bhanjyang, (5098m) sloping up the right hand valley. The Larkya-La trail is ahead and left. The track to Tibet is currently closed but stocks of timber are being carried up to Samdo by yak in expectation of resumption of trade. The nearest Tibetan town is only one day away and there is Chinese and Tibetan beer and food for sale in Samdo. Stay overnight at Lodge.
Day 12: Trek from Samdo to Dharamsala 4460m, (3-4hrs)
Descend beyond Samdo on a broad trail, dropping to cross the much-reduced Buri Gandaki at 3850m. Pass another trail to Tibet to the right and climb left after a mani wall, traversing through juniper with many marmots. Cross two ravines on narrow tracks. There is no Larke Bazar despite what many maps assert; at one time traders from Namche Bazar came through Tibet to trade in this area and maybe some of the scattered stone shelters you will pass were part of that market. Dharamsala (4480m; Larke Phedi, Larkya Resthouse) is a stone hut with three rooms and an almost intact roof, but the lack of doors means that it can fill up with snow and remain full of ice for months. Don’t count on it for shelter: carry a tent. The views are marvelous. A large herd of blue sheep call the tussock-covered hills home. Stay overnight at Lodge.
Day 13: Trek from Dharamsala to Bimtang 3590m, (7-9hrs) via Larkya-La Pass 5160m
Climb steadily over the ridge behind Dharamsala and beside the large lateral moraine of the Larke Glacier. The climb is not difficult but it is long and rocky underfoot, particularly as you top the moraine. Look for cairns and metal snow poles which assist route finding. Descend past four frozen lakes and make a final tiring climb to the left up to Larkya-La (5100m), marked by prayer flags. It takes about 3-5hrs to reach the pass and it can be very cold and windy with a risk of exposure if under-equipped or ill. The peaks to the west are Himlung (7126m) near Tibet and Kang Guru (6981 and Annapurna II (7937m) in the Annapurna Range. Descend over the moraine to the west, on the right side of a deep gully, and then drop steeply on loose screed, eventually traversing left on steeper screed. There are several places where snow or ice would make this treacherous and some groups fix a rope on the steepest piece. Make a long descent on loose gravel to a welcome more level area with grassy moraine, where the angle eases. The track now runs left of the large lateral moraine, rocky at times, in a widening and beautiful valley all the long way to very scenic Bimtang (3720m; ‘plain of sand’), a descent of 1400m in about 3hrs. The views during the descent are huge — icefalls and mountains in all directions, a medial glacial lake (Pongkar Tal) between the Pongkar and Salpudanda Glaciers, and the joining of these two glaciers with a third glacier to form the Bhimdang Glacier whose lateral moraine towers over Bimtang. Stay overnight at Lodge.
Day 14: Trek from Bimtang to Dharapani 1860m, (7-9hrs)
Climb above Bimtang on the lateral moraine, walk south along the crest to find a route down the moraine wall and cross the Bhimdang Glacier, which can be loose underfoot. Climb up the far moraine wall quickly to avoid stone-fall and enter some of the best forest in Nepal. If you are in rhododendron season, the mauves, reds, pinks and whites are stunning amongst the huge pines. The views of the back of Mt Manaslu are equally stunning. Descend rapidly along the true right bank of the aptly named Dudh (‘milk’) Khola through a bhatti at Hompuk (3420m) in a forest clearing. Gentle riverside walking continues rapidly to Karche (2700m; Karache) for morning tea after about 3.5hrs. In the next hour you will see many signs of flood, with tree trunks smashed and banks undermined, the track becoming quite rough. Climb steeply over a ridge and drop to Gurung Gho (2560m), the first real village since Samdo. There are two lodges here, the second being comfortable for overnight, or lunch if continuing. The valley becomes more agricultural as you pass fields and copses of oak and rhododendron, staying on the north (true right) bank until Tilje (2300m; Tiljet). The Larke Pass Hotel offers beds and a dining room. Pass under a stone arch, cross the Dudh Khola and descend rapidly towards the Marsyangdi Valley through scrubby forest. Cross back to the north bank just below Thonje (1900m;Thangjet, Thoche) and climb up to join the main round-Annapurna trail, over the Marsyangdi Khola on a long suspension bridge. Turn left into Dharapani (1860m) and take a good camping ground spread down the hill. Stay overnight at Lodge.
Day 15: Trek from Dharapani to Syange 1100m, (6-7hrs)
Climb down along the Marsyangdi River, first cross by an iron bridge just end of the Dharapani village. Then, continue up stream of Marsyangdi Riveruntil reaching Kotro and cross by a long suspension bridge over the Marsyangdi River. The trail continues right hand through the small battis in the canyon. There is again other suspension bridge, cross over the bridge and drop down to sandy area near the Tal village. After Tal, the trail drop down to the River in rocky trail and climb up the through the dense forest area and again cross by a suspension bridge near the Chyamje where lunch break. Then, the trail continues in the left hand until reaching Jagat Village. After that, keep walking in the rocky trail dropping down to Syange. Stay overnight at Lodge.
Day 16: Drive from Syange to Kathmandu via Besisahar by land cruiser (7hrs)
Morning, after packed all the equipments and upload to the bus and drive back to Kathmandu passing beautiful landscapes and picturesque villages. The views of mountains are spectacular during the driving and transfer to Hotel.
Day 17: Final Departure from Kathmandu
Your trip will come to an end today after breakfast. Your leader will be on hand to advise and assist with your onward travel arrangements and transfer to Kathmandu Tribhuvan International Airport by our private van around 3 hours before your flight schedule and flight back to your home/other travel destination.
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