Tourism in Nepal is flourishing as the country saw a million tourists for the first time last year. Most of the million came here to see mountains and trek around the mountain region. But, over the year, more and more domestic tourists are heading out to explore the less travelled trails of Nepal like the Manaslu Circuit Trek which is one of the most beautiful treks one could go on.
Relatively unknown here are a few information that might come in handy when going to Manaslu.
1. Why is it called Manaslu Circuit Trek
For Everest Base Camp and Annapurna Base Camp treks, the ending points of the treks are the base camps, and then from there, you return to your jump off points. For Manaslu, it is different. As a matter of fact, Manaslu Base Camp trek is more well-known by the name Manaslu Circuit Trek. In this trek, Manaslu Base Camp is not the destination, but is instead only a side trip. For the Manaslu Circuit Trek, you are making a loop in your trek so you start in Sotikhola or Arughat, reach the Tsum Valley, stop by Manaslu Base Camp, cross Larke pass and then end up your trek in Besi Sahar in the Annapurna region.
In Base Camps treks, these are normally your main destination and then you usually return to where you started. For a Circuit Trek, the starting point and end point are always different.
2. This is the killer mountain
Towering above the pine forests of Nepal’s Budhi Gandaki River Valley, the mighty Manaslu is nicknamed “killer mountain” by locals because more than 60 people have died on its treacherous slopes.
The world’s eighth highest peak may not be as famous as its bigger neighbours Everest and Annapurna, but it is really challenging due to its fickle weather.
3. Do not travel alone
These parts of Nepal do not have many tourists during the peak season because most haven’t heard of the trek so it is advised that you take someone along. Because the trek isn’t as safe as others, it is not permitted to go on one’s own.
It is recommended that you take someone along with you and if want to know more, should you take a guide who will give you information about the village and the mountains seen from there.
4. be careful of falling objects
The reason the government has asked trekkers not to go alone is because the region is dangerous and after the 2015 earthquake, it is also prone to landslides and rock fall. A reason why it is better to be in the know to make sure you are safe. The danger zones come along as you pass from Khorlabesi to Tatopani and in route to Yaru and after crossing the Larke Pass. Ask the guides or the locals about more danger zone and keep yourself safe.
5. Book before you leave
The Manaslu trek is definitely one of the most alluring trails you could choose to go trekking in Nepal. Unlike ABC or EBC, you will not a find a huge crowd of people flocked in Manaslu circuit. This is because other mainstream trekking trails are more popular amongst the tourists.
And because of that, there aren’t many tea houses or lodges around the place and during the peak season finding a good lodge spontaneously can pose up to be a big problem. So, a smart move would be to book yourself a proper night’s sleep beforehand by talking to the owner of the place you stayed a day earlier, and they shall avail you the contact details of lodges for the next day.
The main problem might come at a place called Dharmashala where there is only one lodge with around eight rooms. Which why it is advised to book in advance, otherwise you will have to spend the night in tents.
How to get there
Take a bus from Kathmandu to Arughat of Gorkha. From there, you can take a jeep or walk for 5 hours to get to Solti Khola from where the trek normally starts. It’s completely up to you where you start your trek from. After Soti Khola, it’s time to stretch your happy feet along. The official Manaslu trek ends at Besisahar. However, you can cheat a little by catching a bus from Dharapani.
Networks in the region are pretty poor so tour operators advice to take a CDMA SIM along with you as NTC and NCell don’t have proper connectivity around the region.
Besides the telephone network, the power in Manaslu Circuit is supplied through solar panels or local hydropower projects. Some places do not have access to power. The charging is easily facilitated in places supported by the hydropower projects. But you will definitely face difficulties in charging phones where solar power is used. And some lodges have even started to charge at a certain rate per hour.
Photos by: Bharat Bhandhu Thapa