Manaslu Region - A Wonderful Trekking and Its Facts.

No doubt, Manaslu Circuit is a most wonderful and amazing trek among the trekking trails of Nepal. Manaslu Circuit trek is being popular these days because of its uniqueness and we have done this trek in the beginning of the November 2014. I don’t have any words to explain about its natural beauty. As per our pre planned schedule, no alternative way to maintain the itinerary and need to be done including Tsum valley within 17 days. Our time frame was limited and we have many places to visit, so we need to walk at least 7 to 8 hours per day. We don’t have so much time to rest and we did without any hassle and fortunately we did not get any problem of AMS even though rapid gaining the altitude. While we were trekking we have found there was a caravan of tourist everyday departing from Kathmandu and Pokhara. We don’t have actual data but in an average at least 200 trekkers and their guide were travelling through Manaslu and Tsum Valley every day. So, that many business men are interested to this place and construct several lodges and tea houses along the trail as well. These days number of tourist has been increasing rapidly due to road construction in Annapurna region trail. We have heard much news about Lukla airport, stocking plane in Lukla, most scaring airport in the world, plane delay due to bad weather etc. Indeed, we are talking about Manaslu region and this is the time to visit. Visit Manaslu region and get quite different trekking experience comparatively to your pervious treks.
We started the trek on 4th November 2014 and finished it on 20th November 2014. Daily walk distance in hours.
Day 01: Kathmandu – Arughat (9 hours by local bus)
Day 02: Arughat – Lapubensi (7 hours walk)
Day 03: Lapubensi – Dovan (7 hours walk)
Day 04: Dovan – Philim (7 hours)
Day 05: Philim – Chumling (8 hours walk)
Day 06: Chumling – Lama Gaon (6 hours walk)
Day 07: Lama Gaon – Mu Gompa – Lama Gaon via Rachen Gompa (8 hours walk)
Day 08: Lama Gaon – Lokpa (8 hours walk)
Day 09: Lokpa – Ghap (7 hours walk)
Day 10: Ghap – Lho (6 hours walk)
Day 11: Lho – Sama Gaon via Pungen Monastery (7 hours walk)
Day 12: Sama Gaon – Samdo via Birendra Lake (5 hours walk)
Day 13: Samdo – Larkya Phedi (Dharmashala) (4 hours walk.)
Day 14: Dharmashala – Larkya-La – Bhimthang (11 hours walk)
Day 15: Bhimthang – Dharapani (8 hours walk)
Day 16: Dharapani – Bensi Shahar (5 hours by jeep)
Day 17: Bensi shahar – Kathmandu (5 hours by car)

Recommended side trips: In Tsum valley Trek
Ganesh Himal base Camp: base point Lungden Gompa

Recommended side trips: In Manaslu Circuit Trek
Kal Taal: base point Prok village
Hilang Monastery: base point Lihi
Pungen Monastery: base point Shyala or Sama Goan
Birendra Lake and Manaslu base Camp: base Point Sama Goan.
Tibet border – Rui La: base point Samdo

General trekking description:
In general most of the trekking trail of Nepal that reaches over 5,000 meters. Similarly, Manaslu circuit Trek also mostly passing through the valleys and crossing over Larkya Pass with an elevation of 5160 meters. As it starts with an altitude 500 to 5160 meters exploring the three different valleys namely Tsum Valley, Nupri valley and Katung(Manaslu) valley. The trek surrounds Ganesh Himal, Siringi Himal and Manaslu Himal (8163 m.). A Japanese expedition team was the first summiteers in 1956. So, it is known as Japanese Mountain led by Gyalzen Norbu & Toshio Imanishi. Not only are the others many impressive peaks but variety of vegetation and monasteries are also visible during the trek.

Permits and Entry Fees:
Manaslu is declared as restricted area. It is required to have special permits for the trekking which issued by Ministry of Home affairs, Department of immigration and applying through the registered trekking agency. The travelers should be accompanied by a guide. At least two travelers are required for a group.

Permit fee for Manaslu: Autumn Season.
70 U.S. dollar per week (Additional 10 U.S. Dollar per day).

Permit fee for Manaslu: Winter and Spring Season.
50 U.S. Dollar per week (Additional 7 U.S. Dollar per day)

Permit fee for Tsum Valley: 35 U.S. Dollar (For 8 days)

There is Conservation Area fees need to be paid:
MCAP (Manaslu Conservation Area Project): 2,000 NRS convertible 21 U.S Dollar.
ACAP (Annapurna Conservation Area Project): 2,000 NRS convertible 21 U.S Dollar.

Mode of operation or organization:
Tea houses/Fully organized camping
According to the norms of traveling one can do both type of organization as per traveler’s desire and hubbies. Recently, The Manaslu Circuit Trek can be done as Tea House (Lodge) Trek. It is not required to have own accommodation facilities i.e Tent and no need to carry catering services. Now a days, There is increasing number of lodges in Tsum Valley Trek too except Mu Gompa and Lungden Gompa. There is still need to be sleep in monastery.

Variation of Organization:
Tea Houses versus Fully Camping Trek
Logistics of trek is easy: This seems easy to arrange the travel light just taking some necessary items for the trek. In other way, this is economy for travelers too instead of taking cater services and camping equipment through the trekking agency.
Support local economy: Consumption of accommodation and eating services that mean paying directly to them which support local economy.
Better interaction: Closely comprise with local meaning exchange conversation know betterly their life style, culture and tradition gain better experience.

But………….we cannot do without compromising.
A compromise on food quality and quantity – while some travelers prefer to enjoy with local food (mainly Daal Bhat) but there was found some travelers were not satisfy for the food for a long journey.
A compromise on accommodation – some villages along the Tsum valley and Manaslu circuit still have basic lodges and need to be sleep sharing basis with others being increasing number of travelers in the Manaslu region.

Best Season: For Travel
Generally, the best season is to visit in the Manaslu region is autumn (October – November) and spring (March – April). There is relatively stable weather in the autumn season and will find some snow over 5,000 meters. In the spring season more snow, green lush forest and rhododendron blossom.

Service along the Trek
There is expending the telecommunication services. In the most of the village, except Deng and Ghap, you can find satellite or cellular based phone which able to connect with the world on payable basis. Internet services are also available in Philim, Namrung, Lho and Sama Gaon.

Due to the micro hydro project, in many villages 220 volts electricity is available. Light and power sockets are available for charging batteries on payable basis. Villages without electricity generally use solar panel for light and battery charging.

Required days for the trek:
For the Manalsu Circuit Trek takes 17 days (Kathmandu – Kathmandu) based on our recommended itinerary including two extra days for acclimatization/rest/side trips. As per standard plan the sleeping nights are: Arughat – Lapubensi – Dovan – Philim – Bihi Phedi – Namrung – Sama Gaon – Sama Gaon – Samdo –Samdo – Dharmashala – Bhimthang – Gowa – Taal – Bahun Danda – Bensi Shahar – Kathmandu.
If expanding trip with Tsum valley, it is required at least 7 days and altogether 24 days trek. As per standard plan, the sleeping nights are: Arughat – Lapubensi – Dovan – Philim – Chumling – Chhokampar – Nile – Mu Gomp – Chhekampar – Gompa Lungden – Lokpa – Bihi Phedi – Namrung – Samagaon – Sama Gaon – Samdo –Samdo – Dharmashala – Bhimthang – Gowa – Taal – Bahun Danda – Bensi Shahar – Kathmandu.

In the conclusion, we would not recommend shortening this recommended itinerary, as the time needed for walking distances as well as rest days is very important for health and enjoyment. Taking more days for the trek is of course highly recommended.

Manaslu Circuit Trek

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