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Descending from Larkye La, Nepal

Manaslu Lodge Circuit

18 days
$4,849 NZD
4.9 / 5 from 18 reviews
Walking & Trekking
Activity level:
Activity Rating - Challenging
Trip code: 
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Private Group Adventures
Walking & Hiking
Group size:

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

This spectacular and 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.


  • Magnificent off-the-beaten-track circular 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
  • 14 days point-to-point walking with full porterage
  • Group normally 4 to 16, 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 and a first aid kit on trek
  • 17 November 2022 and 19 October 2023 led by Valerie Parkinson, Wanderlust World Guide Awards Winner 2021
  • Countries visited: Nepal

What's included

  • All breakfasts included
  • Morning bed-tea on trek
  • Welcome drink at each overnight lodge
  • 3 nights standard hotels, 13 nights teahouses and 1 night fixed tent
  • 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 £63*)
  • Down jacket (hire in advance from £63*)
  • *Hire package incl. sleeping bag & down jacket from £72
Call for general departures:
0800 643 997
Call for private group trips:
0800 643 997
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.


Days of Walking & Trekking

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


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 25.0km/3.0miles
Day 313.0km/8.0miles
Day 414.0km/9.0miles
Day 519.0km/12.0miles
Day 613.0km/8.0miles
Day 717.0km/11.0miles
Day 89.0km/6.0miles
Day 98.0km/5.0miles
Day 107.0km/4.0miles
Day 1115.0km/9.0miles
Day 126.0km/4.0miles
Day 1318.0km/11.0miles
Day 1416.0km/10.0miles
Day 1518.0km/11.0miles

People, Places & Planet

We work hard to create trips that improve life for the people and places we visit, and look after the planet we explore. Find out more about our sustainable travel ethos and practice here, and find out about the work of the Exodus Travels Foundation here

Some sustainable travel highlights of this trip include:


How this trip helps improve life for local communities.

  • The use of a local leader and trekking support staff (guides, porters/yak herders) means our customers will be well informed about local traditions, and cultural and social sensitivities.
  • This trip brings income and opportunity to the destination community through the inclusion of locally-owned hotels, teahouses and restaurants, the emphasis on eating locally produced food and support of other local enterprises.
  • Following the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, Exodus has been able to support Karma, our local partner’s Food Package Project in Nepal, which has distributed food parcels to those in need on the streets of Kathmandu at a time when lockdowns and a lack of tourism left many without an income.
  • It was not until 2005 that the ancient tradition of ‘chhaupadi’ (banishing menstruating women and girls to huts or sheds during their period) was made illegal in Nepal. In rural parts of the country, menstruation is still a taboo subject. Since 2018, Exodus has supported the Freedom Kitbag Project, providing reusable sanitary wear and education in reproductive health to many hundreds of women and to their wider communities.
  • Exodus has had a deep connection with Nepal since the 1980’s and over the years has supported, and continues to support many Himalayan Community Projects, including an elderly person’s home, the High Altitude Workers Welfare Association, providing solar cookers, smokeless stoves and running medical camps in hard to reach communities, to name but a few.


How this trip helps protect and conserve local landscapes and nature.

  • Read about our commitment to nature protection and restoration here, including our rewilding commitment for every customer who travels.
  • By travelling in a small group and on foot, for the most part, led by a local leader, we ‘tread lightly’ to minimise our impact on local resources and the environment.
  • As part of our right of passage, we buy our trekking permits and pay our Manaslu Conservation Area Permit (MCAP) and Annapurna Conservation Area Permit (ACAP) fees, the income from which helps to preserve the region. 
  • Our trips adhere to ABTA’s industry-leading animal welfare guidelines to ensure the best possible practices with regard to working animals and wildlife viewing. Our animal welfare policy can be found here
  • We work with our partners on the ground to proactively eliminate or reduce waste, for example eliminating all single-use plastic water bottles and instead recommending that you refill your own reusable bottles with boiled water on the trek, or that you treat tap water. 


How we seek to keep the carbon footprint of this trip low.

Read about our climate action here, including our carbon reduction and compensation commitments.

  • In Kathmandu, we stay at a family-run Nepali-owned hotel, rather than using a large international hotel chain, and during the trek we stay in small locally owned teahouses, which helps reduce the carbon footprint of this trip.  
  • Few crops grow nor do animals graze at these altitudes, and as there are no roads to the more remote villages, food is often carried in along the trails by porters or yaks/mules, making its transportation footprint inherently low carbon. 
  • A vegetarian diet is common in Nepal, especially in the mountains where eating meat is not generally recommended due to hygiene concerns and a lack of refrigeration facilities. The staple diet is dal baht, which comes in various forms but generally includes lentil dal, vegetable curry, and rice.
  • Exodus established the Braga Tree Nursery Initiative, in the Upper Annapurna Region of Nepal, in the 1980s to play a part in tackling the deforestation problem at the time, and to this day, the tree nursery sustains itself.
  • The provision of solar cookers to many villages along the popular trekking routes in Nepal has helped prevent further deforestation in the pursuit of wood used for cooking.
  • There is no mains electricity in the mountains and many of the teahouses use solar power for hot showers or lighting.

Tips for sustainable travel on this trip

  • Leave no trace: We do all we can to ensure we leave no rubbish behind in the wild and beautiful places we visit; we ask that you do the same. If there are no recycling facilities in-country, we’d ask you to consider bringing recyclable materials home with you. When trekking - biodegradable soap, shampoo, and toilet paper are recommended. Keep to paths to reduce damage to plants & disturbances to wildlife.
  • Plastic waste reduction: Avoid using plastic bottles or buying mineral water and instead use refillable water bottles wherever possible. Buy boiled water or carry water purification treatment (we recommend a SteriPEN or similar type of handheld UV water purifier).
  • Try to buy locally made handicrafts but be wary of items made from wild animals eg. shahtoosh shawls made from endangered Tibetan antelope.
  • If while packing, you find a spare bit of space in your bag then you may be interested in donating to one of our projects. Exodus supports a Porter Clothing Bank in Kathmandu and also distributes clothing to villages and schools.

 Cultural respect:

  • The Nepalese greeting is ‘namasté – with hands held in front of the face, the higher they are held, the more respect it exudes. Men will shake hands with men but not with women.
  • Walk in a clockwise direction around temples or monuments. Ask permission before entering places of worship and remove your shoes. Leave leather behind before entering Hindu temples.
  • Pointing your feet (the least sacred body part) at people or religious places or pointing or beckoning with a single finger is considered impolite.
  • Displays of affection should be kept at bay, and loose-fitting clothing that covers legs and shoulders is advisable, especially when visiting homes, monasteries or temples.
  • Do it like the locals! The left hand is associated with toilet duties, so eat, wipe your mouth, pass food, give and receive with your right hand. Only handle your own food and drink.
  • Ask before you capture people on camera. Exchanging a few words or gestures beforehand can go a long way. Offering (and actually sending) a copy via post is a great way to benefit both parties!


  • Day 1

    Start Kathmandu

    The tour starts at the hotel in Kathmandu. The group flights arrive into Kathmandu today, 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 Arket Bazaar; trek to Soti Khola

    We have an early start for the long drive to Arket Bazaar (approx 7hrs). 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 into the hills through Dading Besi and Arughat in the Buri Gandaki Valley. From Arughat we continue on a rough road to Arkhet Bazaar (be prepared for an adventure). From here we start walking and have a short (approx. 2hr) walk to Soti Khola.

    Teahouse (sleeping altitude approx. 720m)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 3

    Trek through forest and fields to Lapu Besi and on to Machha Khola

    The first few days of this trek are quite long in terms of hours walked due to the lower altitudes and availability of decent lodges. It can, therefore, be very hot, especially in the spring trekking season. Our route begins by following the Buri Gandaki Valley north. There is a road being blasted out of the hillsides and we try to avoid it where possible. From Soti Khola we drop to the river and cross to the other side of the valley where the trail climbs up steeply for a while through some forested areas and small villages and then undulates through farmland and finally drops to cross the river again to lunch at Lapu Besi. From Lapu Besi, we follow the undulating jeep track to Machha Khola

    Teahouse (sleeping altitude 875m)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 4

    Follow the Buri Gandaki River to Jagat

    Another quite long day as the trail undulates throughout, 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. We start off with a short climb followed by a descent to Khorla Besi. From here we follow the wide track 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 we stop for lunch. 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 Jagat, a well-kept paved village, where we start to see the first signs of Tibetan Buddhism.

    Teahouse (sleeping altitude 1725m)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 5

    Ascend through small villages to Philim; climb to Deng (1,870m)

    A long day due to the lack of decent lodges. From Jagat the trail continues up the valley through the villages of Salleri, Sirdabas and Ghate Khola, 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 lunch at Philim (1565m). From Philim the trail undulates 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 (sleeping altitude 1870m)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 6

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

    A shorter 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, there is an optional walk up the hill behind the lodge for spectacular views across to Prok and of the whole valley.

    Teahouse (sleeping altitude 2110m)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 7

    Continue to Lho (3,170m), offering fantastic views of Manaslu

    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 a simple 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 (sleeping altitude 3170m)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 8

    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 to the monastery, which we can visit. We then follow 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 (sleeping altitude 3530m)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 9

    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 (sleeping altitude 3860)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 10

    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 that the accommodation at Dharamsala is extremely basic. There are three-person prefab huts and two-person tents. Mattresses are provided in the huts and tents and there is a basic dining room and basic toilets).

    Teahouse (sleeping altitude 4480m)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 11

    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 easy if there is no snow (if there is snow or ice it will take us much 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 Pongkar 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.

    Teahouse (sleeping altitude 3700m)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 12

    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 half-day walk 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. Also if the weather is bad at Bimthang your leader may suggest trekking down the valley earlier. This is at the leader's discretion.

    Teahouse (sleeping altitude 3700m)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 13

    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 (sleeping altitude 2,240m)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 14

    Trek to the remote Nache; descend to the main Annapurna Circuit trail

    From Tilje we walk through the village and cross the river by bridge. A small footpath then leads away from the main trail and we follow this uphill through the forest. A higher path takes us to a small monastery set amongst pine forests. We get great views of Dharapani below and Annapurna 2 above. We then descend past terraces to a suspension bridge which we cross The trail then climbs up to Nache village (1940m). This beautiful old village rarely sees trekkers and has beautiful traditional Gurung houses. We can also see Manaslu and Himalchuli. We then descend quite steeply to the main Annapurna trail at Korto. Staying on the same side of the river we follow the old trail which climbs high above the river and undulates until we descend to Tal for the night.

    Teahouse (sleeping altitude 1700m)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 15

    Descend to Chyamje and Jagat; from Syange climb to Bauhundanda

    A short climb out of Tal brings us to a long descent to cross the Marsyangdi by bridge followed by a short climb to Chyamje. From Chyamje to Jagat we can climb above the road and follow the old trekking trail through the forest to Jagat. From Jagat to Syange we have to walk on the jeep track for a short while. After Syange we cross the river to Germu and have a final climb up to Bauhundanda for our last night of the trek.

    Teahouse (sleeping altitude 1290m)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 16

    Walk to Ngaddi; transfer to Kathmandu

    Leaving early, we have an easy 5.8km walk downhill to Ngaddi, from where we meet our bus for the long drive to Kathmandu (approx. 6/7hrs). We should arrive at our hotel in the late afternoon.

    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 Boudhanath, 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. 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



Most nationalities require a visa for Nepal, which can be obtained in advance or on entry (at present, the Immigration Department of Nepal have suspended  'visas on arrival' for certain nationalities - please check if this applies to you). All Nepal tourist visas are multiple entry. We recommend that you apply in advance as queues on arrival can be very long – applications can be made directly through the Nepal Embassy (by post or in person) or through our recommended visa agency, Travcour. The current cost for a visa in advance is GB£20 for a 15-day visa and GB£35 for a 30-day visa for UK passport holders (plus processing and postage fees if applying through Travcour).

The current cost for a visa on arrival is US$30 for 15 days, US$50 for 30 days, or US$125 for 90 days for UK passport holders. The fee can be paid for in any major currency at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu. On arrival in the immigration hall there are 3 queues (if you have obtained a visa in advance go straight to (3) - immigration):

(Step 1) Fill in a 'Tourist Visa' form: either online before travel (recommended) via the Department of Immigration website - print the submission receipt with barcode (valid for 15 days) and bring it with you, or use the electronic kiosk machines on arrival at the airport. If using the kiosks, after inserting your passport the machine will automatically fill out an application form, take an electronic photograph of you and print a paper slip. If the machine won’t read your passport you can complete the details manually using the touch screen. We recommend taking 1 passport photo with you just in case. (Step 2) Proceed to the visa fees collection counter and pay the visa fee (we advise to take some cash) – make sure to keep the receipt. (Step 3) Lastly, go to the relevant immigration desk and present your tourist visa form, payment receipt and passport to obtain your 15, 30 or 90-day visa stamp. Please check you have been given the correct visa duration.

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



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. As of August 2019, there has been a recent outbreak of Dengue fever in southeast Nepal and we therefore recommend you take extra precautions to avoid mosquito bites (such as wearing full length trousers, long sleeves and applying insect repellent during the day as well as at dawn and dusk).

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.

In the teahouses breakfast will comprise of a choice of bread (a slice of toast, chapatti or Tibetan bread), a choice of egg (boiled, fried or omelette), and a choice between either muesli or porridge each day. Hot tea/coffee will also be served. On specific days, there will not be a choice for breakfast and either a trekkers breakfast (egg, hash brown, baked beans and toast) or a pancake with jam/honey will be served - these options are not available in all teahouses and so we have only included them in locations where they can be guaranteed.

Lunch will be taken at a teahouse en route - sometimes one of your guides will go ahead with the group's order to make it more expedient. Dinner will be in the same teahouse that you sleep at (this is custom in Nepal as teahouses base their room rate on it).

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. Dhal bhat is the staple diet in Nepal and comes in many different forms but generally comprises some curried lentil dhal and meat or vegetables, some rice, and a pickle/chutney. Another popular snack is momos; a type of Nepalese dumpling, fried or steamed, filled with meat or vegetables.

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 have a gluten free diet, then we strongly recommend you bring some extra food and snacks with you to supplement the food on trek as there will be little variety available for you, particularly for breakfast. Even many of the soups are powdered and contain gluten. Gluten free breakfast options will be limited to vegetable fried rice and a choice of egg, and on specific days only, a trekkers breakfast (without the toast / with an extra egg) will be served. Breakfast options for vegans will be limited to a choice of muesli/porridge with water each day, and on specific days only, a trekkers breakfast (without the egg), or vegetable fried rice will be served. If you are lactose intolerant as opposed to vegan then the same will apply although you will also have a choice of egg each day. 

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.

The teahouses 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.

Alternatively, 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 you and use an effective form of water treatment. There are a wide range of products available these days which are more effective than the traditional purification tablets - we recommend talking to an outdoor retailer for the latest advice as technologies are improving all the time: make sure to check the product’s performance in cold/freezing conditions and consider battery life (lithium batteries are best in cold conditions).

Handheld UV filters such as a ‘SteriPEN’ are very effective, can treat 1 litre of water in a couple of minutes and the water is ready immediately – look for lightweight lithium battery models and remember that you will need to bring a wide-mouthed bottle (e.g. Nalgene) for use with these devices.

There are also an array of water filter and purifier bottles on the market but be wary of their weight, bottles with a small capacity and the products performance in freezing conditions. Exodus has partnered with Water-to-Go, a filtration system that eliminates over 99.99% of all microbiological contaminants from any non-salt water source – please visit Water-to-Go for more information. Exodus customers can claim 15% off your first order, and better still, 15% of the purchase value will be donated to the Exodus Travels Foundation. Please note that if the water freezes it will clog up the filter – in this event, defrost before use by sitting the filter in lukewarm water for 10-15 minutes.


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.

Is this trip for you?

This is a Challenging grade (activity level 5) lodge-based trek with 14 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/twelve 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.

To help you better prepare for your Nepal holiday, please also see our Nepal Destination Guide.


Why Trek with Exodus?

  • Over 30 years’ experience of organising treks in Nepal.
  • 'Ask an expert' - talk to Exodus staff who have done the treks themselves.
  • 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 and a 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.

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as generally not suitable for persons of reduced mobility. However if you are a regular traveller on such trips, please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Call for general departures:
0800 643 997
Call for private group trips:
0800 643 997
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.


Manaslu Lodge Circuit

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 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. A few of the lodges on this trek 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 share with 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 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.

Single supplement from £80.00

Call for general departures:
0800 643 997
Call for private group trips:
0800 643 997
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.

Call for general departures:
0800 643 997
Call for private group trips:
0800 643 997
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

costa rica

You can’t deny there’s an inextricable link between happiness and travelling.

  • Reviewed May 2022

    5 years and 4 rebooking’s later finally completed the trek and it was so worth the wait!

    It is hard to summarize such a great trek, with outstanding leadership (Bikash/Kushman) and trail buddies, but I’ll try. Having trekked in the Everest Region twice with Exodus (2015/2017), I didn’t know if the Manaslu Circuit trek could match those experiences – it did and even surpassed them in some areas. The trip notes are pretty spot on with regards to the trek and while the road continues to push further, our guides did a great job of avoiding it in parts and minimizing the road sections. As a result, it doesn’t really dimmish the trek (yet), which is still remote and goes through multiple climate and cultural zones as you ascend to, and descend from, Larke La. It is very hot at the lower altitudes and it is cold at the around the pass – so you have to pack accordingly. The daily schedule works very well and we had no acclimatization issues within the group, which was of varied ages and experience. The scenery is dramatic and ever-changing, the views of Manaslu are excellent - showing its different faces over multiple days. Take advantage of the acclimatization opportunities and in Samagaun and Samdo do make an effort to get into the heart of the villages as the culture and architecture is authentic and you can see daily life play out. Make sure you visit Birendra Tal outside Samaguan. The lodges were good but mostly more basic than the Khumbu. Dharamsala is no longer just tents but is still very basic. So happy to have completed this trek with Exodus – 192miles / 32,000ft of ascent over 14 days, with a high point of 16,945ft/5165m.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Three things for me personally – 1) crossing the Larke La and being over 5000m again, 2) the rest day in Bhimtang was so welcome with great weather, views, and a quiet teahouse, and 3) the last night's celebration in Bhundanda, which fell on Nepali New Year, so much drinking and dancing – never to be forgotten!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Bikash was an outstanding leader. Always present, always well organized, always supportive and encouraging. Above all reassuring and confident. I’d trek with him and Kushman, our guide, again anytime. Our porters were great people also.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do it – this is an outstanding trek for so many reasons. Be patient in the first couple of days as it is very hot and the road plays its part, but that’s all quickly forgotten as you push on.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Do the trek soon as the road is going further and will be increasingly difficult to avoid. It will inventively make the area more accessible, which is really good for the local communities but will lessen the trekking experience.
  • Reviewed December 2019
    Richard Christie

    Walking the quieter circuit brings its own reward.

    This is a fantastic trek through scenery varying from: farmland, forests of pine trees, walking along river gorges beside foaming rivers, through villages full of character and smiling children and finally beside amazing snow clad high mountain peaks. All of which we did with very few other trekkers.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Walking up to the Larkya Pass as the dawn slowly broke behind us revealing snow covered mountains all around.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    As always Valerie looked after us really well and added that bit extra to the enjoyment of the trip. This time sharing her experiences of climbing Manaslu by reading excerpts from her diary of the trip.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I was pleasantly surprised with my first experience of a lodge (Teahouse) based trip. Remember you need to budget for buying your own lunches and evening meals on this trip but the food available is tasty and the choice varied enough to cover most desires. if you need a 'pick me up' along the way then try the Apple Fritters with Custard! Although the rooms in the lodges are basic they were all clean and the beds comfortable. Remember a supply of wet wipes for the nights when it is too cool for a proper wash.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    A fantastic, quieter alternative to the more well known Annapurna Circuit but don't wait too long before doing this trip. Roads are slowly being driven in from both ends which will be good for the local population but could detract from the scenic value of the trip.
  • Reviewed November 2019
    Sandra Strange

    Highly recommend this trek.

    This is my fifth trek in Nepal and definitely my favourite. Happy to have done this before the road is complete as this will change the remote nature of this trek. We had a fantastic group who supported each other, particularly on the day crossing the pass. This trek is more challenging than Annapurna Circuit and Gokyo/Everest. Our guide Keshar was simply the best, can’t say enough about him. Also great to have Zoe from Exodus London office as my roommate. I feel very fortunate to have been on this trek.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Hard to choose as each day was inspirational for different reasons.
  • Reviewed October 2019
    Moira Chaplin

    Manaslu Lodge Circuit

    A wonderful and inspiring experience Crossing the

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Crossing the Larke pass was awesome even to the point of being spiritual. Visiting the Tibetan villages high up near the border was a privilege and seeing how the villagers live and survive in such austere circumstances given the altitude and logistical challenges with getting supplies across the mountain passes

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Dorjee was just brilliant; intelligent, entertaining , respectful, attentive and informative. He ran an excellent team of porters and guides who all got on very well together

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Potential travellers do need a certain level of fitness but you don’t need to be an elite Athlete or a regular on the triathlon circuit. The main issues that can cause pain and grief are of course the lower limb joints namely feet, ankles, knees and hips, so be prepared. The trip allows for good acclimatisation for the high pass at just over 5100 meters. Personally, I did take diamox which caused me no side effects although I did continue to suffer from early morning headaches over 3,000 meters and I would definitely take it again if I do another high altitude walk. I suppose in some ways I was using the diamox as an insurance against feeling very unwell with the altitude. The exodus team also insisted we complete the lake louise scoring system for AMS every day which ensured that appropriate action could be taken in good time in case of AMS

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Considering I was very apprehensive when the holiday was approaching in case I wouldn’t cope with the physical challenges and fitness required, I managed extremely well; just sore knees on the last day. The trip proved to be a memorable experience and I would not have missed it for the world.
  • Reviewed November 2018
    Mark Smith

    Do it while you can

    This is a slightly tougher trek than say EBC or Annapurna Circuit, but you cover all the usual habitat zones via stunning valleys and incredible panoramas that I had no idea existed. I had a smile on my face every day from little children saying 'Namaste' to use as we walked by, and my mouth open at jaw-dropping views, particularly on the pass crossing and descent the following day. You cover quite some distance on a few days, but others are shorter as you get higher giving you plenty of time to admire the views, acclimatise and explore. It's a beautiful and quiet place, so if you're tempted, the I'd recommend doing it sooner rather than later before the road changes things too much.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Interestingly it was the day after the pass crossing. With the uphill sections behind us and the tiring pass crossing behind us, it was possible to fully relax on a long downhill day through stunning forests. The autumn colours were out, the sun was shining, the birds were tweeting, and the moneys were monkeying. All the while the white peaks of Manaslu, Peak 29 and Himal Chuli towered over us and could be seen between the tall trees or from clearings. We were so lucky with the weather, if it had been cloudy then it wouldn't have looked the same, but the yellows and reds of autumn, coupled with the blue sky and the white mountains meant it was a photographer's dream. My advice is spread out, find a gap for some quiet-time and stop from time to time to listen and look. I saw four langur monkey family groups because I was quiet. The birds were fast and harder to photograph, but the whole day was a treat for the senses,

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Keshar was outstanding. All the guides I've had in Nepal have been. As with most trips, there can be unexpected things to sort out and without going into detail, Keshar sorted them. We had snow for a couple of days before the pass crossing, and Keshar was planing our exit strategy and preparing us for that should it be needed, luckily the snow simply made things pretty. There are so many little (and big) things all the guides and support crew do make our treks a success, and this is why I've returned to Exodus again and again. We didn't need our spare day, and Keshar decided to use it to split the last long walking day onto 2 shorter days. This was an excellent idea, we had an intermediate night in Tal on the Annapurna Circuit, and the two shorter days meant we had time to relax rather than blasting out of the mountains as often seems to be the case when the main objective of the trek has been achieved.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Time is running out. The 'road' is encroaching at both ends. The first 3 days were long and mostly on the dusty road, there is very little traffic at the moment but it won't last. Landslides make the road turn into narrow ledge paths from time to time and at the moment it's hard to see how a permanent road could hope to exist in such a dynamic landscape, but you can see people working to repair damage and hacking away at the mountainside to further its progress. The road brings people/tourists and other developments like new lodges. There are new lodges springing up all over the place, so the Manaslu Circuit will soon be as commercial as the Annapurna or Everest areas, so I'm pleased I've seen it when I have. My advice is to do it now whilst it's still a more remote trekking route and before it gets too 'touristy' Take ear plugs for the lodges at night. Take one of those concentrated squash things to mix your own drink for lunch and dinner, no need to buy plastic fizzy drink bottles (or water bottles). Take a light-weight buff to breath through to keep dust out of your lungs. If you can spare the time, fly out a day or two early to get over the jet lag. I went with Qatar Airways this time and I have to say it was a much nicer experience than the usual Jet flights.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I've done many Nepal treks and this is one of the tougher ones. Mainly because of the pass crossing. The pass is a more gradual approach than say the Thorong La, so nothing too steep, but once on top it's a chaotic jumble of moraine to cross. There is a trampled path to follow, but there's a lot of slow up and down over the waves of rubble. We didn't have lying snow on the pass or down the other side, but I can see how this would slow you down further if the conditions were bad. A frozen lake provided a nice flat section, but the rest is tiring and cold. The rewards are the views, the panorama that greets you once you can see over the other side is out of this world. The lodges were all fine. Deng was draughty and the whole building moved, but still warm at night, and Dharamasala was a sort of pre-fab box with 4 people to a box on a mattress on the floor, but all quite acceptable given what you are doing. Our trip was made by the amazing crew and by the weather, so I suggest you do your homework and go when statistically the weather looks best. It's beautiful, the valleys, people, mountains, rivers, trees, wildlife, waterfalls, glaciers... the list goes on.
  • Reviewed April 2018
    Dorian Moss

    Manaslu circuit: a little-visited gem away from the crowds

    The Manaslu trek takes one up a very remote valley through villages where life seems to have changed little for centuries, and gives the chance to see Buddhist people of Tibetan origins. This valley is now threatened by a road being built to the Tibetan border - go there soon before it is completed! The scenery in the upper valley is stunning. The Larkye La pass was very tough for me and I was most relieved to have completed it.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Walking under clear blue skies between the towering snowy peaks (especially from Sama to Samdo). Seeing these peaks at sunrise from Lho and Sama. Feeling of achievement once the Larkye La pass was behind us!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    (Lakpa) Tsheten is a great leader, very caring, intelligent and informative about Nepal, the people and the mountains around us. He looked after me (the oldest in our group) especially well. I was glad he got us to complete a health-check sheet every day.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    You need to be ready for tea houses which are in remote locations and fall well below the standards you might be used to in European mountain refuges. Their standards vary, some are clean and comfortable but others are not. Dharamsala is as bad as the trip notes suggest, but is a necessary overnight stop to be able to cross the pass. It is well worth taking extra food such as energy bars to supplement the monotonous food and fill gaps during the days' walks.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The nine days spent approaching the pass paid off as nobody suffered from altitude sickness. I don't understand why there were only four of us while Annapurna treks were full. This is an excellent trek - go now before it changes.
  • Reviewed April 2018
    Chris Durham

    A marvel, get it while you can

    Most first time trekkers go for Everest or Annapurna but Manaslu Circuit is a trek for the more discerning customer. It is a busy route, but not so much with tourists. It may take a little longer and is a little more challenging but the pay-off is huge. Sure, you trek around the 8th highest peak on the planet but if your interests extend beyond the magnificence of the mountains into the cultural heritage of the region then an education in remote living awaits. The route passes through many ancient Tibetan settlements where little has changed in hundreds of years. In contrast, the tea houses are nearly all recently built on this circuit so, apart from a couple of high altitude stops, they are more spacious and cleaner than those I’ve seen in the past. I wondered if a couple of the shorter days could be done in one but the longer approach provides excellent acclimatisation time which is much needed as Larke La is a significant challenge, especially in the unusually deep snow we had; it would certainly be easier in the Autumn season. This well planned trip has everything really, small monasteries to visit as well as is plenty for wild-life enthusiasts. Against all odds a road is being built to the Tibetan border which, as always, will bring many benefits but at a cost. Best to go in the next couple of years as I fear this route is changing forever.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Obviously there is great joy getting over Larke La but that's almost missing the point. For me, experiencing each medieval settlement and learning more about the remote life-style is utterly humbling.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader, Tsheten Sherpa, never tired of looking after us, nothing was too much trouble. He had extensive local knowledge which he shared constantly. If you did this trek alone you would certainly miss a lot. I was particularly pleased to see how sensitive and caring he was to the villagers we passed en route. This man is a gem.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared to learn, travel with an open mind and heart at all times.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Make every effort to socialise with your porters, these are excellent young men who are often very shy with few words of English. They have no idea what you are thinking otherwise and teaching them a little English is great for them and may well be very entertaining for you too.
  • Reviewed January 2018
    Neil Bowman Carole Mahoney

    Trekking at its best

    As many of the other travellers who were on the same trek have said, this was one of the best. We've trekked many times in the Himalaya without visiting the Annapurna or Everest regions, so all our experiences have been in less visited and quite remote areas. With this in mind, this trip was still exceptional. We passed through a wide variety of environments, were rewarded with spectacular high peak scenery, and observed traditional life in villages which gradually evolved from Nepalese to Tibetan culture the higher we trekked. This part of our experience was enhanced by staying mainly in lodges in the villages rather than wild camping which is what we've mostly done previously. Even though the lodges were basic (and referring to them as 'lodges' may be rather misleading!), they were nevertheless adequate for our needs.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    For us, a very personal example was, after getting up at 3am in the freezing cold, walking in the dark for three hours under the stars, seeing the sun rise over the mountains, reaching the hundreds of prayer flags on the Larkye La, then struggling in the buffeting cold wind and bright sunshine to add a string of our own. We did this for a very special reason - our prayer flags were for the well-being of a friend with whom we've previously trekked in the Himalaya but who at the time was suffering from cancer. Apart from the many moments that have been described by our fellow trekkers which we also shared, we were very aware of the liberated but seemingly responsible lives the young children in the traditional villages led. Some examples - being in charge of goats or cows/zhos on the hillsides, collecting firewood, helping with farm chores (even burning stubble in the fields using firebrands!), but also being free to play unsupervised. And not a high-vis vest to be seen!!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We've trekked with Valerie many times and without a doubt, she's second to none. She also tells a good story or two!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Yes, a Steripen is essential for this trek. Water off the mountains was in good supply and this is all you needed to keep your water bottles filled and treated. Don't take too much stuff - our experience has always been to wear the same clothes for days and not to be obsessed with cleanliness (ie take a leaf out of the locals' book!).

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Big thanks to the support team who were always ready to lend a hand on dodgy paths, fulfil our needs in the lodges and of course carry all the 'stuff' many of us didn't need!
  • Reviewed December 2017
    Kris and Garth Brookes

    Manaslu Lodge Circuit

    One of the best treks that we have done in Nepal fulfilling all our expectations and more! A brilliant blend of valleys, gorges, forests and unforgettable surprise views of the Himalaya. Villages are relatively unspoilt as the area does not receive the volume of tourists as on the Circuit or Everest treks. If interested in nature the area abounds with birds and butterflies plus some mammals. Lodges, although basic, were perfectly adequate and the standard of food generally very good. However the lodge at Dharamsala was very basic. We stayed in a room as opposed to a tent but the fact that you get up at 3am it really does not matter. Food was fine.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Possibly too many to list. Scenery above Samdo. Walk to Tilje - keep looking back! Not a moment but the variety of butterflies. Lammergeiers and Griffon Vultures.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    What can one say about Valerie that has not already been said! Amazing as always. Local leaders were excellent caring for us whilst walking and in the lodges.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Go on this trek you will not regret it. There are numerous high bridges but if like me, Kris, you are not very keen they are best crossed on ones own to reduce any movement.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Definitely purchase a SteriPen.
  • 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.

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