The region of Gorkha District is known for its beautiful mountains. On the northern edge of this district lies the 8th highest mountain in the world: Mt. Manaslu. Rising to an elevation of 8,163 meters, its lofty heights tower above all of the surrounding mountains and its massif can be seen from many kilometers away.
The locals call the mountain Manaslu which means Spirit Mountain. Because of its impressive heights and impressive massif, it has been worshipped as a deity for centuries. The north side of the mountain is primarily inhabited by those people from Tibet who moved here centuries ago and still hold allegiance to the Dalai Lama. On the south side of the mountain are the Gurung people who were the backbone of the Gurkha soldiers in the British and Indian armies.
Swiss Nepal Family Trekking & Expedition is quite pleased to be able to offer this unique Manaslu trek that circles around the upper and lower side of the mountain, thereby sharing with you its unique culture. We will bring you into the finest places that the Gorkha District has to offer as we share with you this wonderful experience in the High Himalayas.
DAY 1 – Arrival in Kathmandu, transfer to hotel.
DAY 2 – Full day sightseeing in Kathmandu Valley
DAY 3 – Drive to Soti Khola (elev. 700 m): 6 – 7 hours
DAY 4 – Trek to Machhakholagaon (elev. 869 m): 6 hours.
DAY 5 – Trek to Jagat (elev. 1340 m): 5 – 6 hours
DAY 6 – Trek to Deng (elev. 1860 m): 5 – 6 hours
DAY 7 – Trek to Namrung (elev. 2630 m): 5 - 6 hours
DAY 8 – Trek to Samagaon (elev. 3520 m): 6 – 7 hours
DAY 9 - Acclimatization Day with hike to Manaslu Base Camp (elev. 4400 m) and back.
DAY 10 – Trek to Namrung (elev. 230 m): 5 – 6 hours
DAY 11 – Trek to Deng (elev. 1860 m): 5 – 6 hours
DAY 12 – Trek to Jagat (elev. 1340 m): 5 – 6 hours
DAY 13 – Trek to Machhakholagaon (elev. 869 m): 5 – 6 hours
DAY 14 – Trek to Laprak (elev. 2100 m): 6 – 7 hours
DAY 15 – Trek to Barpak (elev. 1950 m): 6 – 7 hours
DAY 16 – Travel by Landcruiser to Kathmandu: 8 – 9 hours.
DAY 17 – Sightseeing in Kathmandu Valley
DAY 18 – Departure
DAY 1 – Arrival in Kathmandu: You arrive in Kathmandu at Tribhuvan International Airport where you will be met by your representative of Swiss Nepal Family Trekking & Expedition and taken to your Three Star Hotel for the evening where you can relax from your long flight.
DAY 2 – Sightseeing in Kathmandu Valley: The Kathmandu Valley is larger than the country of Singapore and the valley contains many interesting cities, villages and sights. It is also home to seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Today we will visit three of the World Heritage Sites; Swayambhu, Boudhanath Stupa and Pashupatinath Temple. All three places emphasize the uniqueness spirituality of the people of Nepal. We will travel by private car with our own English speaking guide. We will overnight in our Three Star Hotel.
DAY 3 – Drive to Soti Khola (elev. 700 m): We will travel by private land cruiser to the village of Soti Khola on the banks of the Budhi Gandaki River. We leave Kathmandu, crossing over the pass before dropping down and following along the Trisuli River until we cross the bridge to Dhading Besi. Our road gets narrower and eventually we find ourselves on a local road. We will pass through the village of Arughat Bazar, the last major village of any size before we enter into the Manaslu region. We will drive farther until the end of the road at Soti Khola where we will spend the night in a local tea house. Travel time is around 6 – 7 hours.
DAY 4 – Trek to Machhakholagaon (elev. 869 m): This is our first day of trekking and we are making our way north following along the Budhi Gandaki River. Our journey takes us past hot springs that ooze right out of the cliff and drip on the trail. The trail is busy here as there is a larger local population. That will be changing over the next couple of days as we get farther and farther from Arughat. We will spend the night in the multi-tiered village of Machhakholagaon at a good guest house with good local food. Trekking time is 6 – 7 hours.
DAY 5 – Trek to Jagat (elev. 1340 m): The trail goes up hills and down others, past many walls while donkey trains come by with their bells jingling to announce their arrival. There are monkeys and languor jumping in the trees. Our destination is the village of Jagat which is a stone village with beautiful stone streets where we will spend the night in a local guest house. Trekking time is around 6 hours.
DAY 6 – Trek to Deng (elev. 1860 m): Just north of Jagat is the longest single suspension bridge over any river in Nepal. We will climb upwards to the pretty little village of Philim with its great views of the valley below. We will follow along the path that hugs the cliff, watching eagles soar on thermals overhead. The area becomes largely uninhabited as we walk along the edge of the gorge. From here, we will come to the junction with a right for taking one to Tsum Valley. We will choose the left fork as we follow now a much smaller Budhi Gandaki River as we enter now dark bamboo forests on our way to the village of Deng. Trekking time is 5 – 6 hours, and we will stay at a local lodge.
DAY 7 – Trek to Namrung (elev. 2630 m): We start to gain some serious elevation today as the trail is now moving upwards. We pass streams, waterfalls, and by a number of villages. Our goal is the village of Namrung, which is inhabited by the Thakali people The local architecture is changing, become more typical of the area where several houses are gathered around a common courtyard with animals on the ground floor and people upstairs. We will spend the night in a local lodge. Trekking time is 5 – 6 hours.
DAY 8 – Trek to Samagaon (elev. 3520 m): We climb some more today, passing many walls and trekking through dark forests of rhododendron, fir and oak. Here we will see fields with platforms in the middle. These were constructed in order for the people to keep watch out for bears and other animals that threatened their crops. In a harsh land, the loss of crops to a hungry bear can mean starvation in the long, cold winters. There are excellent views today of the various peaks of the Manaslu range. We are now in a world of yaks, pastures and houses. We will spend two nights in Samagaon in order to acclimatize as well as to enjoy the great views from up here. Trekking time is 6 – 7 hours
DAY 9 – Acclimatization: We will take a day hike to Manaslu Base Camp (elevation 4400 m) and back which will bring us some great views, plus prepare our bodies for the higher elevations. The view from Manaslu Base Camp is outstanding! However, those who want to choose to rest this day can do so. There are still great views from Samagoan. Trekking time is 6 – 7 hours.
DAY 10 – Trek to Namrung (elev. 2630 m): We are returning along the same route as we make our way back toward the lower trail. We get to go downhill now, enjoying the incredible mountain scenery as we plan to spend the night in Namrung. Trekking time is 5 – 6 hours.
DAY 11 – Trek to Deng (elev. 1860 m): We are making our way down the trail, following along the Budhi Gandaki river where we will spend the night in Dang. Trekking time is 5 – 6 hours
DAY 12 – Trek to Jagat (elev. 1340 m): We come to the bridge over the Syar River as we make our way past the Tsum Valley trail and now rise high above the Budhi Gandaki. We walk along the Cliffside trail until we come to the village of Philim, and then downhill to cross river to lodge for the night in Jagat. Trekking time is 5 – 6 hours
DAY 13 – Trek to Machhakholagaon (elev. 869 m): We have an easier trail today, following along Mani Walls as we make our way to Machhakholagaon for the night. The name of this place means fish river village and we can enjoy a fish dinner tonight. Trekking time is 6 – 7 hours and we will spend the night in a nice lodge.
DAY 14 – Trek to Laprak (elev. 2100 m): We are climbing upwards today as we make our way now into the Lower Manaslu region. The scenery changes as we can see Mt. Manaslu and the Ganesh Himal Mountain range from a different angle. The people here are primarily from the Gurung caste, and we will experience a very different culture. Our destination is the picturesque village of Laprak, built onto the side of the cliff. The village was destroyed by the 2015 earthquake, and is now being rebuilt. We will stay in a local lodge for the night. Trekking time is 6 – 7 hours.
DAY 15 – Trek to Barpak (elev. 1950 m): Barpak is really more like a small city as it has a population of around 10,000 people. It is built onto the side of a hill, overlooking the snowcapped peak of Boudha Himal which rises to the north. There are some good local restaurants along with an interesting gompa on the hillside. If we have time, we can visit the local museum that honors the first Gurkha soldier to win the Victoria Cross in WWI. You will notice the large homes here; built by those who are retired from the British Army and Gurkha Soldiers. We will spend the night at a local lodge or tea house. Trekking time is 6 – 7 hours.
DAY 16 – Drive to Kathmandu: We return to today by private vehicle to Kathmandu. The road is gravel down the mountain and then follows the Daudanda River until it reaches the main highway south of Gorkha and then back to Kathmandu. The road from Barpak down to the Daudanda River is closed from July to mid-October due to landslides from the monsoon season. If we are trekking during that time, we will have to trek down to Baluwa village to pick up our vehicle.
DAY 17 – Patan and Bhaktapur: Today we will visit two cities outside of Kathmandu but in the Valley: Patan and Bhaktapur. Both cities were once their own kingdoms before the conquest of the valley by the king of Gorkha in 1769. They retain their own royal palace, culture, art, museums and some incredible temples. Should we have to hike to Baluwa from Barpak, then this day will be traveling back to Kathmandu. In the evening, enjoy a farewell dinner and cultural show. Overnight at our Three Star Hotel.
DAY 18 – Departure: All good things must come to an end, and today, it is time to travel to your next destination. Your representative at Swiss Nepal Family Trekking & Expedition can help you to plan your future trip as well as to other destinations around South Asia. Be sure to talk to your representative before leaving Kathmandu about a return trip to this great country. As they say, a lifetime is never enough to explore all that Nepal and the Himalayas have to offer.
Your safety is of paramount concern while traveling with Swiss Nepal Family Trekking & Expedition. Please note that your leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the itinerary if it is deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Every effort will be made to keep to the above itinerary; however, since this adventure entails travelling to remote mountainous regions, we cannot guarantee that we will not deviate from it. Weather conditions, health conditions of a group member, unexpected natural disasters, etc, can all contribute to changes in the itinerary. The leader will try to ensure that the trip runs according to plan, but please be prepared to be flexible if required.
THE TREKKING GROUP
For this trek, there will be one leader, an assistant leader (4 trekkers = 1 assistant leader) and Sherpa porters for carrying luggage (2 trekkers = 1 porter). This arrangement ensures that if anyone in the group is sick, the trip can still go ahead as planned. Swiss Nepal Family Trekking & Expedition can run this trek for groups of any size. But, Swiss Nepal Family Trekking & Expedition generally includes maximum of twelve (12) visitors as this company has found this to be the optimum size for a successful trip. However, if you would like to make a group booking for more than twelve people, Swiss Nepal Family Trekking & Expedition can arrange this, too.
All accommodations for the Upper and Lower Manaslu Circuit Basic Lodge Trek are on a twin sharing basis with inclusive trip costs and based on standard of hygiene, standard of service and food, location, etc. There are two styles of accommodations on this trip. In Kathmandu, we will stay four nights in Three Star Hotels. On the trek, we will stay thirteen nights at local lodges and tea houses which do vary in quality. Most contain unheated rooms with wood beds and foam mattresses. Swiss Nepal Family Trekking & Expedition provides attached rooms in some major towns; however tea houses or lodges in some places only have shared facilities as well as shared toilet. If we are a solo traveler, we may have to share the room. However, some places in Tsum Valley have just one big room where everyone sleeps. Please understand that we will try to provide single rooms if at possible for an additional supplemental fee.
During our trek, we can enjoy typical Nepali food as well as some basic foods from different types of cuisines. While in Kathmandu, we can enjoy a great selection of foods from a variety of ethnic cultures. In the larger villages, we will have good selections, but some of the small villages may only feature a single item for dinner. Lunch will be served as a picnic lunch. There will be a farewell dinner that will feature a cultural show in Kathmandu.