When someone thinks of trekking in the Himalayas in Nepal, more often than not, base camps are involved. Besides the Everest Base Camp and Annapurna Base Camp, a well-known but rarely visited base camp is the Base Camp of the 8th highest peak in the world, Manaslu (8163m). In the historical kingdom of Gorkha District, Manaslu, meaning the “mountain of the soul”, stands out in the northern Himalayan range as one of the imminent geographical charismas. The trail to the Manaslu Base Camp, also known as Manaslu Circuit Trek, was opened for exploration only in 1992 making it one of the restricted trekking routes requiring special trekking permits.
The circuit trek starts from Soti Khola or Arughat, crosses villages of Magar and Gurung and reaches Namrung via Jagat and Deng. Further ahead, the quaint settlement of Lho awaits, followed by Samagaon. Here, you make an exploration of the Manaslu Base Camp at meters and relish the divine parade of the mountains in Manaslu, Dhaulagiri, and Annapurna ranges. Finally, the trek heads to the Larkya La Pass (5160m), yet another landmark beholding immense natural spectacle. On the latter stages of the trek, the trailheads along the Annapurna Conservation Area and descends to Besisahar. This trek is considered as a classic in addition to being an adventurous one through authentic remote villages observing the stunning view of Mount Manaslu (8163m). The Manaslu Circuit Trek encircling the entire Manaslu massif offers a chance to comprehensively explore the home of the Tibetan-influenced inhabitants and the perfect combination of rich culture heritage, unsurpassed Himalayan beauty, and rich biological diversity. Sharing the trails with yak caravans, the continued trade with Tibet can be observed even today.
The trek takes 16 days for completion and can vary depending on the season and side trips to Manaslu Base Camp, Birendra Lake, Tsum Valley, Pung Gyen Gompa, and the Tibetan Border. The best time of the year to complete the trek is during the months of September to November and March to April, during which the temperature is moderate and offers spectacular views of the splendid Himalayas. For accommodation, there are plenty of local teahouses which are comfortable and are run by the local communities along the trek. This has crowned the trek to be described as the best off-the-beaten trek in the country. You can also choose to camp with more flexibility to select camping spots. Since the trek is within a restricted region of Nepal, any foreign citizen should be issued a special permit by the Nepali government and also be accompanied by an authorized Nepali trekking member to access this route. Keep in mind that the Manaslu trekking permit cost is higher than other treks.
Manaslu trek is called the best all-around trek in Nepal by many people and considered as a great alternative to the Annapurna Circuit. Despite its increase in popularity since teahouses were built in 2010, it is far less crowded than other classical treks in Nepal. Thus, this trek remains a true remote adventure and remains off-the-beaten-path, yet you will find more than enough opportunities to observe all the natural and cultural prosperity in Nepal.