Descending from Larkye La, Nepal

Manaslu Lodge Circuit

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18 days
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$2,475 USD
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Challenging
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Trip code: 
TNA
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Tailormade Adventures
Activity:
Point-to-point
Min age:
16
Group size:
2–12

A lesser-known circular trek around one of the world's highest mountains

This spectacular and fairly isolated circular trek skirts around the eighth highest mountain in the world, the formidable Mount Manaslu (8,163m). We follow the mighty Buri Gandaki River as it narrows into a spectacular gorge, passing through tiny villages perched on the valley sides. Eventually the gorge opens out into alpine meadows which are inhabited by a cluster of Tibetan communities below Manaslu's north face. Crossing the Larkya Pass (5,130m) we see the snow-capped peaks of Himalchuli, Manaslu, Cheo Himal and Himlung Himal, before descending through forest to join the main Annapurna Circuit route.

Highlights

  • Magnificent off-the-beaten-track trek around Manaslu
  • Cross the remote Larkya La 
  • Rare views of Manaslu 
  • Trek through picturesque traditional Tibetan villages

Key information

  • 3 nights standard hotels, 13 nights teahouses and 1 night fixed tent
  • 13 days point-to-point walking with full porterage
  • Group normally 2 to 12, plus leader and local staff (staff to client ratio of 1:4 on trek). Min. age 16 yrs.
  • Altitude maximum 5130m, average 2700m
  • Between 5 and 8 hours walking per day; the Larkya La day is approx. 11hrs walking
  • Staff carry oxygen, a PAC bag, and a first aid kit on trek

What's included

  • All breakfasts included
  • Morning bed-tea on trek
  • Welcome drink at each overnight lodge
  • 3 nights standard hotels and 14 nights teahouses
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout, plus local staff (staff to client ratio of 1:4 on trek)
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
  • Arrival and departure transfers
  • Full porterage throughout trek
  • Exodus kitbag 
  • Trekking map (provided locally)
  • Trekking permit and national park fees

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request - Kathmandu only)
  • Visas or vaccinations
  • Sleeping bag (hire in advance from £45*)
  • Down jacket (hire in advance from £45*)
  • *Hire package incl. sleeping bag & down jacket from £63
Call for general departures:
1 844 227 9087
Call for tailormade trips:
1 800 267 3347
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

13

Pace:

Approximately 5-8 hours walking per day with the occasional longer day; the Larkya La day is approx. 11hrs walking

Terrain:

High altitude; including steep, rocky and uneven terrain. Some narrow sections and bridges. One high pass involving walking on rocky glacial moraine and a very steep descent. Snow and ice may be encountered on the pass.

Day by day breakdown
Day 320.0km/12.0miles
Day 422.0km/14.0miles
Day 524.0km/15.0miles
Day 614.0km/9.0miles
Day 713.0km/8.0miles
Day 818.0km/11.0miles
Day 98.0km/5.0miles
Day 109.0km/5.0miles
Day 116.0km/4.0miles
Day 1216.0km/10.0miles
Day 135.0km/3.0miles
Day 1418.0km/11.0miles
Day 1521.0km/13.0miles

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Exodus has a longstanding relationship with our local partner in Nepal, having worked with the family business, passed from father to son, for over 30 years. We employ local leaders, guides and staff throughout and work with family-run hotels, such as the Hotel Royal Singi wherever possible.

Exodus has set up and supported many projects in Nepal over the decades, from installing solar cookers and donating smokeless stoves (a safer means of cooking, which helps prevent eye and lung problems), to supporting a tree nursery in Braga (Annapurna’s) and helping supply water and hydro-electric power to several villages.

Following the 2015 Nepal earthquake, Exodus’ emergency fundraising appeal raised over a quarter of a million pounds thanks to our loyal customers and friends. This enabled us to provide emergency relief (shelters, food and medical supplies), to rebuild homes and schools, and to run a medical camp in spring 2016 in the remote village of Thulopatel in partnership with volunteers from Nepal Medical College. Over 1,500 patients from rural communities were treated for a variety of ailments, to whom medical facilities are not normally readily available. Many of our previous projects (both water pipes and stoves) were damaged in the earthquake - in 2017 we started repairing and replacing these. 

Exodus also worked with Health Partnership Nepal and sponsored their medical camp in Charikot in 2017 as well as sponsoring more than 400 Freedom Kits (providing sanitary wear) for women in Nepal – we will be continuing with this project in 2018. 

To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

Kathmandu
to
Kathmandu
  • Day 1

    Start Kathmandu.

    The tour starts at our hotel in Kathmandu. The group flights are scheduled to arrive in the afternoon and those travelling on them will be met and transferred to the hotel. Free arrival transfers are available for any flight, provided you have supplied Exodus with your flight details in advance and have requested a transfer. There are no planned activities today so if making your own travel arrangements you may arrive at any time - however bear in mind that tomorrow is a long drive so it's better not to arrive too late.

    Upon arrival to the hotel please look out for an Exodus noticeboard with details of where and when the welcome/trek briefing will be held this evening. 

    Hotel Royal Singi (or similar) 

  • Day 2

    Drive to Arughat Bazaar.

    After breakfast we have a long drive to Arughat Bazaar (8-10 hours). We drive out of the Kathmandu Valley and head west following the Trisuli River towards Pokhara. At Dading we turn off the main road and drive to Dading Besi, where we have lunch. After lunch the road condition deteriorates and it is a bumpy and dusty drive north to Arughat in the Buri Gandaki Valley. (Occasionally the road to Arughat is blocked so we may have to drive via Gorkha).

    Teahouse 

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 3

    Trek through forest and fields to Lapu Besi.

    Our route begins by following the Buri Gandaki Valley north. Today is a fairly easy walk passing several small villages and cultivated fields. There is a jeep track to Soti Khola, shortly after which the road ends. We continue to follow the Buri Gandaki through Liding and across a landslide to Lapu Besi. Although we do not gain much height today the walk can be hot, humid and dusty.

    Teahouse 

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 4

    Follow the Buri Gandakhi River up to Dovan.

    Throughout the day the rocky trail undulates, sometimes by the river and sometimes high above the river, passing several small hamlets and farms. The valley narrows and there are some spectacular waterfalls. Passing through Khanibesi, as the trail continues to undulate, we get glimpses of the Shringi Himal ahead. We have a tea break at Machha Khola (fish river), which is a tributary running into the Buri Gandaki. Continuing up the valley, a short climb followed by a descent brings us to Khorla Besi for lunch. From here a rocky trail climbs up through the forest to Tatopani (which means 'hot water'). The water from the natural hot springs here is funnelled through a few taps in the centre of the village. Crossing the river by bridge the trail wiggles its way to Dovan, where there are a few lodges.

    Teahouse 

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 5

    Ascend through bamboo and rhododendron forest to Jagat and on to Philim (1,565m).

    We continue heading north and after an hour we pass through Shyauli from where there are more ups and downs (some quite steep sections), until we drop to the river at Yaruphant. The trail levels out for a while and then we cross a suspension bridge after which the trail undulates to lunch at Jagat, a well-kept paved village. From Jagat the trail continues up the valley to Sirdabas, offering great views of the Shringi Himal ahead. We then drop down to the river, cross a long suspension bridge and climb steeply up to Philim.

    Teahouse 

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 6

    Trek through terraced hillsides to the Gurung village of Deng (1,860m).

    The trail starts today by undulating spectacularly with impressive waterfalls on either side of the valley. Passing the small settlements of Chisapani and Eklabatti we descend a little and cross the river by bridge. At the bridge the trail splits, the trail on the right-hand side of the valley leads to the remote Tsum Valley. We cross to the left and continue following the Buri Gandaki, climbing up at first as the trail rounds the valley, which becomes narrower. We cross the river twice more as we undulate up the valley through forest to Phewa, and further on to the small village of Deng.

    Teahouse 

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 7

    Cross the river and ascend via a magnificent valley to Ghap (2,110m).

    An easy day today. From Deng we descend to the river and cross by bridge. After the river our route climbs, steeply in places, up onto a spectacular trail. We pass through some small settlements as we ascend the impressive valley. We will see mani stones (prayer stones) carved into wayside rocks, a sign that we are now in a Buddhist area. We pass through the small settlements of Rana and Bihi Phedi. The trail continues ascending (sometimes steeply) but at one point descends to cross the river. We will get to Ghap by lunchtime and in the afternoon the energetic can walk up to the monastery at Prok.

    Teahouse 

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 8

    Continue to Lho (3,180m), offering fantastic views of Manaslu North.

    Today is quite a strenuous day with a lot of ascent. The valley now becomes wider and there is extensive farmland all around where we may see the occasional look-out platform, built to ward off bears. From Ghap we cross the river three times and have a long steady climb through the forest (look out for langur monkeys), to Namrung. A short descent followed by another climb brings us to Lihi, where we will have lunch. Another descent to the river and climb brings us to Sho, after which we climb further to Lho. We are now passing through Tibetan style villages and we start to see the magnificent mountain views all around. From Lho we get our first view of Manaslu, Naike and Larkya Peak.

    Teahouse

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 9

    Climb to Samagaon (3,530m).

    A short but magnificent walk as we continue up the valley and gain altitude. The trail climbs out of Lho and follows the valley with great views of Manaslu ahead. The trail climbs for a couple of hours to Shyaula village, from where we are surrounded by amazing views. Manaslu is ahead and we can also see Himalchuli, Peak 29, Maike and Larkya Peaks. Soon we reach the fields and stone houses of Samagaon (3,530m), where we stay for the night. From the lodge there are magnificent views of Manaslu. We should arrive at Samagaon by lunchtime so there will be time to explore the village and visit the monastery in the afternoon.

    Teahouse 

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 10

    Trek to Samdo (3,860m).

    The trail crosses grazing areas and gradually climbs the valley. We have fantastic views of the mountains especially Himalchuli behind us. We can also see Baudha and Ngaddi Peaks and as we reach our destination Samdo Peak rears up behind us. It’s an easy half day walk to Samdo, the last permanent settlement in the valley. This remote village is only a day's walk from the Tibetan border. In the afternoon, there will be time for an acclimatisation walk and time to explore the village. (Please note the lodges in Samdo are basic).

    Teahouse 

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 11

    Ascend to Dharamsala (4,480m).

    Leaving the village we cross a stream (the last time we see the Buri Gandaki) and climb steadily to the deserted Larkya Bazaar. Years ago this village thrived off trade with Tibet. Behind we can see Samdo Peak and as we climb Manaslu comes into view to our left and we can see the whole spectacular climbing route to the summit. Climbing all the time with a few steep sections, we reach a very basic lodge at Dharamsala at 4,480m, which is the last place to stay before the pass. Look out for Blue Sheep which often come down to the small stream near the lodge. In the afternoon, the energetic can climb a hill behind the lodge for even better views of the surrounding mountains.

    (Please note there is only one very basic lodge at Dharamsala and most of the sleeping accommodation is in fixed tents with beds and mattresses).

    Teahouse 

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 12

    Cross the Larkya La (5,130m); descend to Bimthang (3,700m).

    An early start (usually in the dark). Today is a long day and if there is any snow it can take us a long time to cross the pass, especially the descent. The trail leaves Dharamsala and climbs steeply at first but then more gradually by the side of the moraine of the glacier with great views of Larkya Peak. The ascent is gradual most of the way and is fairly easy if there is no snow (if there is snow or ice it will take us longer). As dawn nears Hindu Peak glows orange with the first rays of the sun. It’s a long and rocky ascent on the moraine with some short steeper sections all the way to the top of the Larkya Pass (5,130m). The first area of prayer flags at 5,130m is the official Larkya La from where the views are outstanding - a wonderful panorama of peaks including Larkya Peak, Cheo Himal and Hindu Peak and in the distance we can see the tip of Annapurna 2. From the top there is a 10 minute almost level walk to the second summit (which is a little higher and is also marked with a few prayer flags). From here the long very steep descent starts. We need to take care as the path is steep and narrow. It is a sandy scree trail when there is no snow but if there is snow and ice we need to take care on the descent. There is a landslide which we must cross carefully. The steep part of the trail eventually eases off onto a path which takes us down to the glacial moraine. The views are superb as we descend and we can just spot Ponkar Lake, a brilliant blue glacial lake amidst the three glaciers below us. We stop for a well-deserved rest at the bottom of the steep part of the descent surrounded by immense snow-capped peaks. The descent now becomes a bit easier, but no less spectacular, as we descend the valley to Bimthang, where we stay tonight at 3,700m. If it’s clear we can just see the summit of Manaslu high above camp.

    Teahouse

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 13

    Daywalk to Pongkar Lake or spare day as required.

    A spare day to be used as and when required - if the weather is good and everything runs to schedule then we will spend the day exploring the area around Bimthang and resting after the pass. There is a daywalk to a beautiful glacial lake, Pongkar Lake, which we can do in the morning, then return to the lodge for lunch and have a free afternoon to rest. 

    If however there has been a delay earlier in the trek, the group needs more acclimatisation or rest before the pass, or if there is poor weather, your leader may decide to use the spare day earlier in the trek. This is at the leader's discretion.

    Teahouse 

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 14

    Spectacular walk to Tilje (2,240m).

    From Bimthang we cross high pasture land and have a magnificent walk down into the valley of the Burdin Khola. The walk from Bimthang is one of the most spectacular of the trek as a wall of mountains lies behind us and in front of us. We pass the terminal moraine of the Cheo Himal and cross a small wooden bridge. Ahead we have our last magnificent views of Manaslu. We now descend into rhododendron forest and follow a trail through a narrow valley to Karche and the Soti Khola. A short climb past terraced fields brings us to the Karche La from where we will be in sight of the Marsyangdi River below. Descending through forest we come to Tilje, where we spend the night.

    Teahouse 

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 15

    Join the main Annapurna Circuit trail at Dharapani; on to Jagat.

    From Tilje we have an easy descent, and cross two bridges to Dharapani, where we join the main Annapurna Circuit trail and the Marsyangdi River. We descend the valley to Tal for lunch. A short climb out of Tal brings us to a long descent to cross the Marsyangdi by bridge followed by a short climb to Chamje and then a last short walk along the new jeep track to Jagat.

    Teahouse 

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 16

    Short walk to Syange; jeep to Besisahar; transfer to Kathmandu.

    Leaving early we have a short 1-1.5hr walk to Syange, where we pick up local jeep or bus transport to Besisahar. Although the distance is not great, the road is quite rough and bumpy. From Besisahar we continue by private bus to Kathmandu (approx. 7hrs). We will arrive at our hotel in the evening.

    Hotel Royal Singi (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 17

    Free day in Kathmandu.

    Today is free for sightseeing in Kathmandu. You may wish to visit the monkey temple at Swayambunath, one of the largest Buddhist Stupas in the world at Bodnath, or the most important Hindu temple in the valley at Pashupatinath. We offer a full range of sightseeing tours, which can be booked and paid for locally. Please see the Optional Excursions section of the Trip Notes or the Exodus notice board in the hotel in Kathmandu.

    Hotel Royal Singi (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 18

    End Kathmandu.

    The trip ends after breakfast. The group flight is a daytime flight, scheduled to depart in the morning and arrive into London in the evening - a group departure transfer to Kathmandu airport is included for flight inclusive passengers. Free departure transfers are available for any flight, provided you have supplied Exodus with your flight details in advance and have requested a transfer.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

Nepal

Most nationalities require a visa for Nepal, which can be obtained in advance or on entry. If you wish to apply before departure the current visa cost is £20 for a 15 day visa and £35 for a 30 day visa for UK passport holders. The current cost of a visa on arrival is US$25 for 15 days, US$40 for 30 days or if extending your stay $100 for 90 days. All are multiple entry. The visa on arrival fee can be paid for in cash in US Dollars, Pounds Sterling or Euros. You will also need a passport photo. Application forms are available in the immigration hall (or for electronic passports there are visa registration machines which, after inserting your passport, automatically fill out a form for you). You must firstly join the queue to pay the visa fee, and then go to the relevant immigration desk to obtain your 15, 30 or 90 day visa stamp. There can be long queues for visas on arrival.

Non UK nationals should check requirements with their nearest embassy (a few nationalities are not permitted visas on arrival).

Vaccinations

Nepal

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations are: Polio, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Typhoid, Hepatitis A.

There is low to no risk of malaria throughout Nepal and antimalarial tablets are not usually advised although may be considered for certain higher risk groups; you may wish to consult your GP or travel health clinic for further advice. The risk is highest in the low lying southern ‘terai’ districts bordering India.

A yellow fever certificate is only required if travelling from a country with risk of yellow fever transmission or for travellers having transited for more than 12 hours through a country with risk of transmission.

Dengue fever is a known risk in Nepal. It is a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for Dengue, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Most of our trips to Nepal go to high altitudes where there is a risk of being affected by Acute Mountain Sickness. Our itineraries are designed to enable everyone to acclimatise to these altitudes, but you should be aware that it is still possible for you to be affected. Please refer to the Altitude Warning within the Trip Notes for further advice on AMS.

Eating and Drinking

Breakfast is included throughout the trip.

On trek the breakfast will be a set menu usually consisting of porridge and toast. Any additional items that are not included in the set menu should be ordered and paid for separately. We do not include lunch and dinner on trek allowing you to choose what you want to eat and when. Although most lodges have almost identical menus, they are reasonably extensive and offer a varied selection, ranging from traditional Nepalese dhal bhat to pizza and apple pie.

Although meat is available in the teahouses, we advise against eating it on trek. The meat has often been carried in the heat from lower altitudes for several days before reaching the lodges, and can cause stomach upsets or illness. Germs can also be spread by handling dirty money - we recommend using hand sanitiser.  

If you buy imported food and drink whilst on trek you will spend more than the suggested amount.

Drinking Water

Staying hydrated is important when undertaking any physical activity but particularly so at altitude where it is generally recommended to drink at least 3-4 litres per person per day.

We strongly encourage you not to buy bottled water on trek as this contributes to the growing problem of plastic pollution in Nepal’s trekking areas.

All teahouses will provide cold water free of charge, if requested. Although this should not be drunk untreated, we recommend that you bring a reusable bottle with a wide opening (Nalgene or similar) with you and use a SteriPEN to treat it with. A SteriPEN is a handheld UV water purifier – small, lightweight and battery powered so easy to pack for a trek. In Nepal’s trekking regions most of the bottled water isn’t strictly ‘mineral water’ anyway but is UV treated, so it’s exactly the same technology. It’s quick to use, far more effective than purification tablets, and the water is ready immediately. It’s fine to use a SteriPEN on non-boiled water so long as it isn’t cloudy or full of sediment (which is uncommon in these regions).

SteriPENs are widely stocked on Amazon, outdoor shops and other online retailers; look for the latest models but avoid USB charging ones. Better still, a SteriPEN will pay for itself over the course of the trek and you won’t leave behind a single plastic bottle – you will end up spending the same or even less than you would on bottled water, plus you can keep it for future trips.

If you prefer not to invest in a SteriPEN, the teahouses also sell boiled water for approx. Rs150-300 per litre (the price increases the higher you trek) which should not require treating. This is also perfect for a bedtime refill as it can double up as a hot water bottle. 

Weather

The main trekking season in Nepal is from October to mid-May when daytime temperatures at most altitudes are generally comfortable for walking, the sky is clear much of the time and rain and snow are occasional occurrences. Daytime temperatures will vary from 15ºC to 35ºC in the Kathmandu Valley to around 10ºC at 3600m and progressively lower the higher we go. Different seasons offer different advantages for trekking:

Post Monsoon/autumn: Mid-September to November. This is the main trekking season in Nepal. Day temperatures in Kathmandu are approximately above 20ºC. For the first few days of the trek at the lower altitudes the temperatures can be very hot (up to 30ºC) and it can be very humid. Once you are over 2000m the temperatures are more pleasant. Skies are usually clear and days on trek are sunny and mild with clear mountain views. Nights will be colder with temperatures dropping as low as to minus 5ºC or lower at the higher altitudes.

Pre-monsoon: March to May. Both day and night temperatures will be warmer in general but haze will often build up in the afternoons. It is very hot and humid at the start and end of the trek at the lower altitudes and temperatures rise to 30/35ºC in Kathmandu and the lower parts of the trek. Flowers bloom in this season and this is one of the reasons people chose to trek in spring.

The crossing of the Larkya La is cold at any time of year. There is sometimes a high wind over the pass which makes the crossing extremely cold and you must have adequate protection for very low temperatures for this section. There is sometimes snow and ice on the pass. You need to be prepared for this. We recommend you carry yaktrax/microspikes in case of snow on the pass.

Snow can be expected on any departure, usually at the higher altitudes above Samdo.

In any mountain area the weather is never wholly predictable and you should be prepared and equipped to deal with any differences in weather beyond the conditions described above.

Kathmandu, Nepal

Kathmandu, Nepal

Is this trip for you?

This is a Challenging grade (activity level 5) lodge-based trek with 13 days point-to-point walking and full porterage throughout - you need only carry your daypack. A description of our activity levels can be found on our website.

The itinerary is very well staged for acclimatisation. There are some long days at the lower altitudes and as we get higher the days are shorter to allow for acclimatisation. The maximum altitude is 5,130m, and the average is approx. 2,700m. As this trip spends considerable time at altitude, we ask you to refer to the altitude warning within the Trip Notes.

Much of this trek is on established trails and is within the capabilities of a fit and experienced walker. The first half of the trek is at low altitude with approximately five to eight hours walking a day on reasonably well-maintained trails. However, it can be very hot, dusty and humid at the lower altitudes (especially in the spring) and there are some narrow and steep sections on the trails. The crossing of the Larkya La is over rough rocky glacial moraine and some of the descent is very steep. The day over the pass is approximately eleven hours. You should be a confident walker and be comfortable walking for five to eight hours a day, with an occasional longer day. The trails in the Manaslu region are less well used than those in the Everest and Annapurna regions and are often rocky and uneven, requiring steady-footing and concentration. This area was quite badly affected by the earthquake in 2015. Many of the trails have now been repaired but there are still some landslides to cross and there may be some changes to the descriptions below.

The trail crosses numerous modern suspension bridges over rivers and valleys; all have mesh sides, however, anyone with a strong fear of heights or vertigo may find them difficult.

You may find our Walking & Trekking Fitness Training Guide a useful reference.

Why Trek with Exodus?

  • Over 30 years’ experience of organising treks in Nepal.
  • 96% of clients who trekked with Exodus in Nepal in 2016 would recommend us.
  • 'Ask an expert' - talk to Exodus staff who have done the treks themselves.
  • Small group size (max. 12 clients) and all departures guaranteed on 2 people.
  • Experienced English-speaking local leaders who are qualified in first aid and trained in recognising and dealing with altitude sickness.
  • One of the highest staff to client ratios on trek - 1 staff member: 4 clients.
  • All staff (leaders, guides and porters) are fully insured and paid a fair wage.
  • Carefully planned ascent rates and itineraries with built-in acclimatisation and contingency days.
  • Staff carry oxygen, a Portable Altitude Chamber (PAC bag) and first aid kit.
  • Self-assessment AMS cards used to monitor every client at altitude.

Walking hours stated within the itinerary are given as approximates only. Timings stated exclude lunch stops and will vary depending on the pace of your group.

Call for general departures:
1 844 227 9087
Call for tailormade trips:
1 800 267 3347
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Hotels and teahouses

Thirteen nights on trek are spent in lodges, one night in Dharamsala is usually a fixed tent, and there are three nights in a comfortable hotel in Kathmandu.

In Kathmandu we usually stay at the Hotel Royal Singi, located within walking distance of the Thamel district. All rooms have en suite facilities and there is a restaurant, a bar and an outdoor courtyard. There is free Wi-Fi in the lobby and login codes for the rooms are available at reception. There is an Exodus desk in the hotel reception area and an Exodus representative will usually be available daily in the mornings and evenings.

The teahouses are basic (especially the ones in Deng, Samdo and Dharamsala) but adequate; please be realistic about what to expect in the mountains. We ask that you read our Nepal Destination Guide for further details about the lodge facilities. In Dharamsala we often use the fixed tents rather than the rooms as they are warmer and more comfortable. The tents are twin A-frame tents and come with foam mattresses. 

The hub of the teahouse is the dining room, usually decorated with colourful traditional rugs, sometimes with a stove or heater (some lodges charge a fee to put the heater on). Most teahouses sell snacks and other essentials such as tissues, soap and toilet paper. Almost all lodges have electricity but it is not wholly reliable and lighting may not be bright enough to read by – a torch is essential. Electrical charging facilities are generally available only in the dining room (charged at approx. Rs150-350 per hour per device). Many of the lodges use solar power so sometimes there is not enough electricity for charging. Many lodges have Wi-Fi these days – in some areas it works well but in others it is slow and temperamental.

The bedrooms are now almost all twin-share (although very occasionally during peak seasons you may be asked to sharewith three to a room for the odd night). Beds with foam mattresses, bedsheets and a pillow are provided. Bedrooms are unheated and can get cold at night so you will need to bring or hire a sleeping bag.

Most lodges have only one or two basic toilets and sometimes these are located outside the main lodge building. Toilets are usually Asian ’squat’ style; although some lodges have now installed ‘western style’ seated ones. Toilet paper is not provided so you should bring your own or buy it locally (please dispose of it in the bin provided – do not put it in the bowl). If there is not a flush handle, there should be a container of water to pour down – if it is empty (or frozen) please either refill it or ask the lodge to.

Some lodges now have hot 'showers' (charged at approx. Rs250-500 per shower). Sometimes a hot shower is simply a bucket of hot water and not a shower head.

Standards of cleanliness vary, especially in the peak trekking season and in winter when the water freezes at night. Please report any problems to your leader or the lodge and be vigilant in your personal hygiene regime – use soap or hand sanitizer gel before and after toilet breaks, snacks, meal times and after handling money.

As a general rule, the higher altitude you go to, the more basic the lodges and the more expensive food and services become.

Extra accommodation

If you would like to extend your stay, Exodus can book extra nights before or after the tour for you in Kathmandu - please enquire at the time of booking.

Single Supplements

If you prefer your own room, we offer a single supplement for the three nights in Kathmandu only (subject to availability) - please request this at the time of booking. While in the tea-houses, single rooms cannot be guaranteed but if a single room is available that night, you can pay locally on a day by day basis.

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Trip Notes

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Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

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Call for general departures:
1 844 227 9087
Call for tailormade trips:
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Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

It’s hard to choose ten highlights in a land so full of wonders, but we did our best…

The mountains will always draw us back to this majestic country: and now, with the return of a very special trip, the

  • Reviewed December 2017
    Julia Stevenson

    Manaslu Circuit

    This is a highly recommended adventure. The Manaslu Circuit is all it says it will be and much more. It is a truly spectacular, isolated circuit around the world's eighth highest mountain but weaves through sub-tropical settlements, before climbing into bamboo and rhododendron forest and ultimately, opens out into moraine, glacial lakes and majestic panoramic views of Manaslu, Naike, Peak 29 et al. If you like your treks remote and rugged, this is for you but don't leave it too long because the Manaslu circuit is already beginning to attract attention and in a few years may be as popular as its neighbour, the Annapurna Circuit.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were far too many high points to pick out a single moment. Reaching a Tibetan style village for tea and for the first time, seeing the whole of Manaslu and neighbouring peaks before us. Rapidly escaping the chaotic urgency of a yak on a mission and then, from the safety of a wall, watching it break into a stone courtyard to raid the meal of other young life stock. Fleeing for a second time, as the yak was rudely evicted. Witnessing an elderly woman carefully light and attend to butter lamps in gloom of a monastery. Watching shooting stars from the lofty perch of the camp site at Dharamsala. Getting up at 3am for the climb over Larkya La. Stumbling along into freezing driving sleet, head torch carefully trained on the ankles of the the trekker in front of me, aware of the silent brooding peaks unseen in the darkness. The windy euphoria of reaching the long awaited summit prayer flags and the sublime views looking across and down. The glorious walk to the beautiful glacial Pongkar Lake. The unparalleled views walking down the valley to Burdin Khola.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Unlike others in the group, I had never been on a trek with Valerie Parkinson but found her to be extremely knowledgeable and very passionate about all things Nepali. As noted elsewhere, Valerie was the first British woman to climb Manaslu and has also reached the south summit of Everest. She was encouraged to talk about her experiences over a mug of tea post dinner one evening. This too, was a highlight.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do buy a Steripen. I too was sceptical and drank my first two litres of Steripened water with some trepidation but I survived. Don't eat the spaghetti in tomato (?) sauce at the lodge in Samdo. I did and for some days rather wished I hadn't.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This was my third Himalayan trek and the one I have enjoyed the most. Thank you to my fellow trekkers for their humour, warmth and camaraderie but the biggest thanks goes to Exodus, Valerie and the boys for a well organised, very memorable adventure.
  • Reviewed December 2017
    Jayne Potter

    Manasulu Trek

    I have just returned from this trek and after many years of travelling with Exodus I have to say that this trip is second to none and is far better than the Everest region, or Nanda Devi. Being a circular trip you are able to have an amphitheatre of high peaks over 7,000m+ nearly every day, once out of the initial valley. The daily walks were very varied with steep ravines, village life and extraordinary mountain ranges in front and behind you. The days are long in the beginning but you always have something to look at that makes you smile. Some of the tea houses are very basic the higher you go and make sure you have warm gear for the evenings. Gaining altitude is gradual with half days and afternoon walks to acclimatise you. The very early start to get over the pass was very cold and a tough day but if the weather is good the scenery is superb. Be sure to have a good working head torch with lithium batteries. If you area seasoned trekker do this one. You will not be disappointed. Do not lave it too long as the Nepalese are likely to get the road built and this valley will become like Annapurna and possible spoilt for those that like remoteness with beauty.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Beginning to descend after the Larkye La pass and looking across at the Annapurna mountain range.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Valley was, as usual brilliant in all aspects.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Have very warm gear for the tea houses over 2,000m and the high pass. Ensure you bring Lithium batteries with spare ones and a good head torch. You will need quite a lot of cash as you buy everything including hot water.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I think Exodus need to take a little more care in choosing the airlines they work with. Some of the budget airlines are not performing well and problems can detract from the good holiday experience. In the past two years I have got caught in Argentina for nearly three days and recently I took 39 hours to get back from Nepal. Both due to local airlines being extremely poor at coping with problems. Passengers are dealt with very badly by the cheaper companies.
  • Reviewed December 2017
    Dave Tyas

    Manaslu Circuit

    I came on to write a review of the trip I have just returned from and found that two other group members, Irene Neilson & Steve Terry have already submitted reviews. What they have written is almost exactly what I intended to write so there is no point in simply duplicating. I travelled with my wife & son. We have travelled & trekked extensively for many years but consider this particular trek to be one of the very special ones. It was truly superb, with every day a new experience. Manaslu isn't as well recognised as the Everest or Annapurna regions and is all the better for it. We travelled towards the end of the trekking season and on some days only saw two other trekkers. Near the high pass where routes & itineraries converged we saw more people, but then only around 20-30 trekkers per day. Most of the time we felt we had the trail to ourselves except for the occasional mule train carrying goods to outlying villages. We were particularly pleased to pass through many villages which seemed to have changed little since medieval times, with weaving, spinning, winnowing & haymaking abundantly evident. We also saw several monasteries and many chortens, stupas & prayer wheels. Several villages had tea shops & lodges, suggesting the route had capacity for many trekkers, but we certainly didn't see large numbers.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Almost every day was superb, but perhaps the morning walk on the rest day to Ponkar lake was the best. It is one of those walks where the views are largely hidden until you are almost there, but when they reveal themselves they are truly breathtaking. Glacial valleys, moraines, seracs, ice fields, frozen lakes, soaring mountains literally surround you.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our trip was lead by Valerie Parkinson who has worked in the Himalaya for Exodus for over 31 years. Most people in our group had chosen this departure because they had already trekked with her before. We had too, but 30 years ago! Valerie is an absolutely outstanding person to lead group in this region as her knowledge is unparalleled. She is also extremely friendly and sociable both to trekkers and the guides and porters.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This is a remote area and as such, conditions can be fairly basic at times. The term "lodge" could be misinterpreted by some. There is no element of luxury here and some can be extremely basic. Although a more comfortable option than camping expect no more than a flat bed with a foam mattress (which might be rather thin) and a shared squat toilet which might be frozen. The menus at all the lodges are virtually identical with generally bland hi-carb dishes based on potato, pasta or rice. Standards of cooking can be extremely variable. We found pizzas to be constently the best option. On two days the food was exrtremely poor and on one day so overcooked it was inedible. This isn't the fault of Exodus, just a consequence of the area you are travelling in. Take plenty of chewy bars to compensate and keep several handy for the long day over the pass. This is not a strenuous trek, but the timings on the trip notes are accurate. Several days involve many hours walking and there are no opt-outs. A reasonable degree of preparation is essential in order to properly enjoy the trip. Also, be aware that the journeys between Kathmandu and the start/finish points are quite long an arduous.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The Annapurna Circuit route has suffered a lot from encroaching "roads". The neighbouring Manaslu route is not nearly so affected and, according to Valerie, resembles the how the Annapurna route was 20 years ago. However, there are new roads already under construction which will ultimately have a detrimental effect on the route, but they will take many years to complete. There is still a chance to visit a relatively unspoilt part of Nepal, but don't leave it too long or the opportunity will be lost.
  • Reviewed December 2017
    Irene Neilson

    Truly spectacular mountain scenery

    Wonderful trek that far exceeded our expectations. Our enjoyment of trekking comes from a love of the high mountains so while the walk up the valley was enjoyable albeit hot and a bit dusty, for us, day 8 onwards was truly fantastic - pristine mountain scenery set against azure blue skies, all enhanced by Tibetan stone houses, yaks and remote village life. The mountains- from Manaslu onwards - were breathtakingly beautiful and the weather excellent. The acclimatization walks from Samagaon/Samdo to monasteries and a lake were both enjoyable and interesting. The climb over the Larkya La pass began at 4am and was tough with high winds buffeting us but again the mountain scenery and the starry sky overhead was breathtaking. Fortunately, there wasn't much ice on the descent from the pass so, although long, the scree slopes weren't too bad and one was easily distracted by more wonderful mountain views. Bimthang proved a comfortable lodge for a two night stay. Our rest day incorporated a walk in the morning to Pongkar Lake, a lovely glacier lake set in an amphitheatre of mountains and a bonfire singsong in the afternoon. We were lucky to have several musicians in our group so we could match the porters’ renderings of Resham Firiri with UK favorites. The combination of surrounding mountains, fire and song made a slight feeling of deflation after crossing the pass disappear. The descent to Tilje continues to move through lovely mountain scenery then attractive forest. It's really only when you hit Dharapani and the dust tracks of the Annapurna roadworks that the mountain magic disappears a little. We were lucky with wildlife - Himalayan Tahr, blue sheep, pika, lammergeyer, griffin vultures, golden eagles, red monkey, langur monkeys, musk deer, barking deer were all spotted.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Day 8: wonderful weather made the mountains truly spectacular and we had our first glimpse of Manaslu. The mountain scenery at the heart of this trek is phenomenal and remains so over several days.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our trip was led by Valerie Parkinson. It was great to hear Valerie’s first hand account of climbing Manaslu and have her point out the ascent route from base camp. Her willingness to share her knowledge of Nepal and the changes in its culture over the last 30 yrs makes walking with her extremely enjoyable. Her account of climbing Everest and having to turn back after the South summit and suffering severe frostbite in her feet was also amazing. She is an extremely nice, kind person.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Beginning of the trek really is very hot and dusty but at altitude, particularly late November it can be very cold so a range of trekking clothes is needed. It certainly surprised us how cold it could be in the evenings. Some of the more basic high altitude lodges really were drafty. Curiously we found the fixed tent at Dharamsala warm. Lithium batteries coped best with the cold. Several people brought hot chocolate sachets that proved a rather nice treat. Some also had duck tape wrapped on their walking stick which proved handy. Excellent trail mix for snacks can be bought in the Supermarket opposite the Royal Singhi. If you stay in the Hotel Ambassador, as our group did, the hotel restaurant on the first floor -the Diplomat- serves excellent South Asian food- the homemade kulfi was fantastic. We bough the new Qantum steripen and bag as it does 4 liters of water at a time but found it was more convenient just to use the steripen with a Nalgene bottle. We forgot that hydration bladder tubes freeze in the cold and this was a problem on the Larkya La pass. Guess best bet is to have some form of insulation for the tube at altitude. Few lodges had functioning wifi and some had no electricity - power packs are useful. Ncell local sim does not work on the Manaslu circuit. Exodus have replaced elephant safaris with jeep based safaris in their bookings for the Chitwan extension. If you want to go to Chitwan and experience elephant safaris and bathing -which we personally would highly recommend- you may want to consider booking direct with Safari Narayani Hotel.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This really is a great trek taking you into remote mountain scenery and fascinating traditional village life. Do it now before roads and dams are built.
  • Reviewed December 2017
    Steve Terry

    Manaslu from all sides

    I’m just back in Kathmandu having completed the Manaslu Lodge Circuit. 33 years ago my late wife and I trekked the Annapurna Circuit independently which was one of the loveliest experiences of our lives. So I was prepared to be very disappointed by the neighbouring Manaslu Circuit. But not one bit. The itinerary works really well - with 13 nights to get round the circuit. Starting in warmth and luxuriance and Hindu culture; moving steadily up to the colder more spacious places of Tibetan villages with the beautiful twin peaks of Manaslu and the surrounding Himal providing glorious vistas; the long hard day crossing the Larkya Pass with the unexpected revelation of the Annapurna massif in the distance; the descent through dappled forest back to the world of flowers, butterflies, monkeys and terraced fields. Just magic! More than I’d hoped for. All made even better by having Valerie Parkinson as our leader - who could tell us what it was actually like to be the first British woman to climb Manaslu (8163m) - without oxygen. I feel very spoilt. Thank you Valerie - and thank you Exodus for another well-organised, unforgettable experience.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The first proper sighting of Manaslu and the surrounding himal and the transition to Tibetan culture.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    See above. Inspirational and a wonderful human being.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Definitely take a Steripen (see trip notes) - such a brilliant device.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This was my 7th trek in the Himalayas - and, with the exception of that first Annapurna trek all those years ago, this Manaslu one has been the best trek (although having three sightings of snow leopards in Ladakh a few years ago with Exodus is a close rival!).
  • Reviewed November 2017
    Jenny Cox

    Fantastic, incredibly varied off the beaten track teahouse trek

    Highly recommended. By far the most varied trek I've ever done and excellent for gradual acclimatisation. Starting from around 600m, the heat (30degC) and almost tropical lowland scenery was quite unexpected and we passed some beautifully quaint Nepali villages surrounded by terraced hillsides, padi fields and banana trees. The route follows the Buri Gandaki River Valley for the first week, which at times steepens and narrows to form a spectacular gorge with cascading waterfalls. You cross some amazing high suspension bridges over the river. As you climb gradually higher the vegetation changes to bamboo thickets, rhododendron and alpine forest and eventually you get above the treeline, where yak pastures, stark hillsides and snow-capped mountains dominate. The villages and people themselves also change as you near the Tibetan border. Crossing the Larke Pass (over 5000m) is a gradual ascent on undulating moraine – the best mountain views are from the ‘second summit’ (past the prayer flags) - save enough energy for the long descent!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    On our rest day in Bhimtang after the pass, our team of porters decided to collect firewood and host a bonfire for everyone. It was a lovely gesture and all the more special under a starlit sky - the Milky Way a clearly visible streak above us. After sharing the local millet wine (rakshi) we plucked up the courage to join in with the dancing and singing (plus keeping on moving helped us stay warm). It was lovely to see our support team or porters, guides and Tenzi (our tour leader) relaxing and enjoying themselves, having been working so hard to look after us. Music and dancing is very much part of the Nepali culture and it was great to be a part of it. Two of our porters were students and spoke some English - they challenged us to sing a song for them in return...we agreed we would but on the last night. We adapted the lyrics of a song to have one verse about each of our guides - it went down a treat at the time but I think we're all hoping there's no video evidence!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Tenzi Sherpa, also known as 'The laughing Sherpa' or 'Haha Tenzi' (owing to his distinctive and incredibly infectious laugh and gleaming white ear to ear smile), was a fantastic leader - I would request him next time. Attentive and safety conscious at all times, very well organised and managed the different walking paces within our group as well as possible. He was quietly knowledgeable if you asked him about something but without overloading you with information.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    You will experience a huge range of temperatures on this trek as you climb from 600m to over 5000m - bring lightweight layers for the lowlands and high SPF sunscreen and lip balm as well as a warm fleece/down jacket for higher up. Bring mosquito repellent for the lowlands too. There are some very narrow trails and numerous high suspension bridges so I wouldn't consider this if you have a fear of height/vertigo. Not all of the lodges have electrical charging facilities so bring a power bank or solar charger / use lithium batteries if possible as these last longer in the cold. Bring lots of wet wipes - it's not practical to have a proper wash every night or when it's very cold. Travel games/cards are good for the evenings. Ear plugs are useful in the teahouses as the walls are very thin.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    There have only been teahouses in the Manaslu region for a few years and many are still very basic (especially at Deng, Samdo and Dharamsala), although that said, there are also some nicer ones dotted along the way which seem like relative luxury (i.e. hot showers, or occasionally WiFi). Some rooms are simply small box rooms with plyboard walls and ceilings with two beds - that's it. Every room had clean bedsheets and pillows. There are only one or two lodges in each village (although more are being built) so there is little/no choice in where to stay and although the trails are quiet compared to the main Annapurna and Everest regions, the lodges can be busy simply because there are so few of them.
  • Reviewed November 2017
    Catherine Matthews

    Manaslu ciruit

    a fantastic trek in a remote, beautiful part of Nepal. the Northern part of the trek is very close to the Tibetan boarder and hence has a very Tibetan feel, which is interesting and quite different from the more Southerly, Nepalese villages, people & animals. not to be underestimated. high altitude, although very good acclimatisation (& I took Diamox) and basic accommodation - very basic as you get more remote, nearer to the pass. the first and last parts of the trek are well worth it in their own right. fantastic landscape & people. very Autumnal when we were there in November; very fertile & well populated. a marked contrast with the wilder, more remote areas further North. a very well organised, well balanced trek. far better than Annapurna sanctuary for example, which has become over popularised.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    every day brought something new & inspiring

    What did you think of your group leader?

    excellent leader & trek staff we were well looked after & I felt very confident in the leader's experience & abilities a better standard of English would add to the trip. being able to ask questions about the area & it's people has added to previous treks but otherwise excellent

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    do it!! go, now, whilst it's still relatively unknown & unspoilt but you do need to be aware of the altitude and be prepared to rough it around the pass days. no technical difficulty to speak of. a trek for experienced mountain walkers upwards - it is cold at night - I don't feel the cold but I needed a blanket several nights
  • Reviewed April 2011
    Anonymous

    MANASLU CIRCUIT

    This was to be my third trip to the Himalayas, the last being the Annapurna Circuit in 2006 (before road building started on the circuit).  I was looking for something different this time, a remote camping based trek off the beaten track and away from the relatively crowded paths and overstretched teahouses of Annapurna and Everest Base Camp.  Manalsu more than met my expectations.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were too many to recall! Those that spring to mind include:The nerve wreking bus trip over mountainous tracks to Arughat BazarWalking between rice paddies on beautiful sunny and warm mornings on the lower reaches of the Budni Gandaki Nadi river valley; the exotic sights and smells of the local farming communitiesReaching Jagat, the first truely Tibetan village we were to meet on a cold windswept evening after walking with goat herds on a narrow track in a steep sided river gorgeEarly on a sunny morning, the first glimpse of the snow covered Manaslu peak breaking above the clouds from the campsite above the monastory in LhogaonBreakfast in the sunshine after a bitterly cold night in Samdo seeing the footprints of our tents in the snow as they were being packed away and watching the yak herds being driven out to the early spring pastures.Trekking up to Larke Phedi in the bright sunshine between snow covered peaks towering above as far as the eye could see; enroute sighting the rare and protected "blue sheep" high above our path Reaching the prayer flags at Larke La after trekking for six hours up snow and ice covered scree and then facing the steep descent in a full-on blizzard; arriving in Bimtang to a hot bowl of noodle soup six hours later.Sheltering from the blizzard and huddled around a juniper fire with Pasang and his sherpas after dinner in one of the few small stone-built tea houses in Bimtang; awaking to a snow covered campsite on the following sundrenched morning.Walking down through the snow covered conifer forests towards Karche on a sunny morning under the ever present Manaslu towering above with occasional views of early flowering rhododendrums.Washing under village hose pipes or the occasional waterfall when the opportunity arose; the waterfall at Tal was very memorable although very cold!The amazing sights of the destructive force of nature in the two main river valleys; the Budni Gandaki in the east and the Marsyangdi in the west; very deep, steep sided and scoured gorges, recent landslips hundreds of meters high and wide and the massive amounts of natural debris including whole trees and huge rocks stranded in the river beds.  The constant noise of rushing water.Cooking was inspirational and every meal was greatly anticipated and appreciated: lids were whipped off aluminium pots from which emerged an amazing choice of well prepared and tasty food including porridge, omlettes, home-made bread, various hot and spicy soups, yak stew and curried yak, tuna, fried spam, lentels, greens, cauliflower (the best we had ever tasted), dumplings, pancakes, curried potatotes and chips, cinnamon cake...........the list goes on.The evening at the last campsite in Bhulbhule where we all realised how lucky we were to have been in the company of Pasang and his team of sherpas, cooks and porters for such a challenging and magic sixteen days.  The mutual support and enjoyment of my four trekking companions where very fortunately we all appreciated and undertook the trek in the same spirit.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Pasang, a very experienced trekker and mountaineer was a truely gifted leader.  Apparantly Manaslu, unlike Annapurna to the west is known for having unstable and unpredictable weather.  On the days leading up to crossing the pass, the weather started to deteriorate as the wind picked up and although we had many sunny mornings, the cloud brought snow flurries at dusk. Pasang correctly assessed the weather and the ability of our small trekking group and decided to dispense with the normal rest day at Samdo and keep heading for the pass in order not to be caught by the impending bad weather.  The crossing was very arduous taking twelve hours instead of the normal eight or nine caused chielfly by recently fallen snow and ice underfoot.  It was only when we got to Bimtang that we realised how well Pasang had read the weather conditions, assessed our team and lead us safely with a minimum of fuss over the pass.  In 10 years of crossing Larke La, these were the worst conditions he had encountered; the pass was virtually closed to all except for a couple of mountaineering groups for the best part of a week afterwards.  He constantly and quietly encouraged our group and his own team through long and tough days with great humour, anecdotes and authority always ensuring we were comfortable, not over-stretched, well rested and most importantly well fed. I think we were very lucky to have him as our guide.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    When it comes to what equipment you should take, you should follow the Exodus advice closely.  For example two of our group did not have the recommended trekking pole arrangements and I think they may suffered for it.I did not bring a spare memory card or battery for my camera thinking I would be OK; I wasn't so as a result I was unable to take photos on the last four days of the trek. I now understand that extreme cold drains older batteries down quite quickly. Exodus arranges occasional evening meetings in London where a famous wildlife photographer gives great advice and tips for amateurs like myself.  Sadly I didn't go (not knowing about it) but two of my fellow trekkers went and greatly benefitted.If you are travelling on our own, you might consider going "solo", i.e. having your own tent.  Luckily I was the odd man out and had a tent to myself.  Being somewhat awkward in confined spaces and valuing my own privacy, I don't think I could have managed sharing a tent with anybody else for sixteen days.  Follow the Exodus advice for getting fit and preparing for this challenging trek if you want to get the maximum pleasure from it.  I am in my sixties and knew before going that I was older than my four travelling companions and didn't want to let anybody down so I made an extra effort to get fit (it helps when you are retired!) and it paid off.If you are in any way interested, it might be wortwhile before you travel reading up on the various cultural groups you will encounter enroute and the flora, fauna and geology of the Himalayas; it certainly adds to the enjoyment of the trek.  Also bring a small pair of binoculars (fortunately we had a pair between us).

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This was a truely rewarding experience for our small group of five trekkers.  Having stayed in teahouese on my two previous occasions in Nepal, camping for me is now the preferred way to go if at all possible.  We had a great Exodus team including our leader, two sherpas, a cook and four kitchen helpers and seven porters.  These guys made our trip memorable in way that a teahouse trip could not.  You soon get into the daily rhythm and routine of a camping trek, what is expected of you and what you expect of the others, both your co-trekkers and the Exodus team. The success of a trek depends on this mutality which I had not fully appreciated at the outset; Pasang's great skill was to ensure this mutality.
  • Reviewed March 2011
    Anonymous

    Manaslu Circuit Camping

    A great introduction to trekking in Nepal without the crowds on the Annapurna circuit. The Manaslu Circuit is certainly the path less well traveled - and by all accounts almost as dramatic as the Annapurna circuit, but as the circuit only opened up to trekkers a few years ago - there are virtually no lodges, so you get to enjoy camping every night!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The views of the glaciers as we got up to the northern part of the circuit were dramatic, along with the occassional crack as we heard chunks of ice breaking off. The views of the mountains along this part of the circuit were also fantastic, and made up for the few days we spent trekking through the valleys on the way up. Crossing the pass was also a key point to the trip - and it was good that the descent was fairly rapid - taking a lot less time than the climb up. I enjoyed the fact that most of the time we had the trail to ourselves - which isn't the case on the Annapurna circuit these days. 

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our leader was great fun - with a good sense of humour, and did a good job of communicating, getting us moving, trekking, and fed (almost over fed). 

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't worry about the food - on this trip you get to travel with your own kitchen staff (including an egg man - there were plenty of eggs) - and they work hard to prepare wholesome food. We had some Dhal Bhat - but most of the food was more varied (and certainly more interesting). There was always more than enough - so don't worry about going hungry!A good hiking pole is recommended and can be purchased from Kathmandu before the trip if you don't have one in your luggage (although the big-brands can be hard to find). I'd also suggest taking something like the Kahtoola MICROspikes just in case the route down from the pass is icy (although I didn't need mine). Being walking-fit before the trip will make your trip more enjoyable, however we did start-off pretty slowly - so don't expect a challenging walk from day one. The most challenging section was the cold as we left early to get to the pass, and the LONG descent after the pass itself. The descent was somewhat slippy due to gravel/scree on the path - so hiking poles were useful.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The worst bit was the coach travel into the start point with a long &  bumpy coach ride; however this unavoidable (unless the trip were extended with another week's walking). If you're tall - don't sit at the back of the bus.Take a look at my travel photos and a longer description of the trip on my website:-http://andy.bryant.name/blog/2011/1/23/manaslu-circuit-nepal.html 

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