Manaslu circuit trek itinerary 18 days | Detailed day by day with multiple side trips

Read detailed guide on how to plan Manaslu circuit trek. Here is the detailed day by day Manaslu circuit trek itinerary spending 18 days. Before you read check this video filmed over 18 days along Manaslu circuit.

Manaslu circuit trek – 18 days of hiking | ASMR video

Manaslu circuit trek itinerary

Day 01 Drive from Kathmandu to Soti Khola

Our journey starts at 6:30 am from the New Bus Park in Kathmandu, where my mission is to navigate the right local bus to Arughat. A few phone calls and a bunch of chaos later, we finally secure our front row seats.

Usually local buses in Nepal are quite an experience and I’m mentally prepared for such a ride. But much to my surprise, this bus is quite new and comfy, even equipped with reclining seats.

It makes two stops on the highway for tea and toilet time then a longer lunch break about 2 hours before Arughat. Having ridden this route before in 2019, I must say the roads from Dhading to Arughat have been significantly improved. While my poor stomach still can’t handle the winding parts, my two boys were riding the bus like a charm.

We finally made it to Arughat around 2:00 pm, offloaded our backpacks, headed towards the ticket booth to get our tickets for our next bus to Soti Khola. We had 30 mins to kill before our bus started. This bus ride is a roller coaster, but on a rocky track.

Thankfully it only lasted about 45 mins. By the time we arrive, Fluffy, Charlie and I couldn’t wait to dust ourselves off and get to our room to straighten our poor back and paws.

Day 02 Drive Soti Khola to Machha Khola and trek to Lapu Beshi

We set off from Soti Khola after breakfast around 8:30 am. Our next destination is Maccha Khola, about 3 – 4 hour walk. I didn’t know that the motor road has been expanded further up until I saw a jeep carrying some local passengers passing through. So when the 2nd one was approaching, I grabbed the opportunity and negotiated for a ride.

It doesn’t make sense to walk dusty roads and it’s not safe for my dogs either. So we saved some time by arriving in Maccha Khola within 1 hour drive. Maccha Khola is the common overnight destination for trekkers doing standard 14 day itinerary.

After some tea for myself and some heated arguments between Fluffy and a local dog, we officially started our trekking to Lapu Beshi. The trail is quite pleasant, mostly flat, following the beautiful Budhi Gandaki river. It’s the very end of monsoon but the streams are quite strong and we could see spectacular waterfalls hanging down the cliffs on the other side of the river.

There’s still no sign of mountain yet during this first day of walking since we are still at a lower elevation. On the way I noticed a couple of excavators and cranes tearing down rocky cliffs for road constructions. We made it to Lapu Beshi after two and a half hour walk. Easy for the first day. The lodges here in this village are few in numbers and basic in services. And that’s all we need.

Day 03 Lapu Beshi to Jagat

Today’s walk is a 4 – 5 hour fairly flat stroll with a short tea break in Yaru Bagar. We did cross a few landslides and some suspension bridges hanging over the river. The scenery is still so much lush and green.

After Yaru Bagar, the trail gradually opens up following the wide river bed. The famous cantilever bridge was under renovation so instead of walking it we kept following the river bed all the way to Jagat.

That’s very convenient for my golden retriever Charlie since he gets to dip himself in the river whenever he wants to.

It was around mid afternoon when we arrived in Jagat. There was plenty of time to explore the beautiful village before dinner time. Jagat is where trekkers are required to declare themselves at the check points with guide’s help before moving forward.

There are quite a handful of lodges with spacious gardens and good facilities here.

Day 04 Jagat to Chisapani

Our journey today covers a few landslide sites, some parts of the trail were completely buried so we needed to climb up then descend multiple times. This has made the walk significantly more strenuous than what it usually is. There was quite scary incident between Salleri and Ghatte Khola when we had to climb up a very high hill due to landslide blockage.

It was bushy so we couldn’t see much in the front. That’s when a cow appeared out of nowhere and started attacking Charlie to a point he almost fell down the cliff. Luckily my GoPro stick came in handy and I managed to scare the cow away.

We decided to take some time in Ghatte Khola away from the overbearing heat, and for Charlie to recover from the trauma which he probably didn’t even remember it happened.

There’s this local lady who got really curious and excited about the appearances of my two boys. She invited us over her house for a chit chat and even asked to take photos with Fluffy and Charlie.

We chose Philim to have lunch before moving forward to Chisapani. I met some school kids on their way back from school and just like that Fluffy and Charlie had an entourage escorting them to Chisapani.

By the entrance of the village, I noticed some locals performing some local rituals and couldn’t resist but to follow them to observe the ceremony.

Day 05 Chisapani to Bihi

The walk today is a mixture of gentle ups and downs and is relatively moderate. We had a beautiful lunch break in the only teahouse in Pewa. They have a nice garden with many variety of vegetables so I had such a colorful Dal Bhat and even a cup of fresh mint tea.

In a standard itinerary people would make a stop in Dyang and pass through Bihi Phedi (Lower belt of Bihi village). Since we’re heading towards Serang Gompa as our first side trip, we were going up to Bihi to spend the night. The village doesn’t receive many tourists compared to others right on the common trail but you can still find a couple of decent teahouses.

The teahouse owner where I stayed was kind enough to let me store some of my luggage there as I would be coming back down same way after visiting Serang Gompa.

Day 06 Bihi to Serang Gompa

I thought I felt lighter and much more ready for the climb up to 3800 m today after shredding a few kilos of luggage. It turned out nothing could have prepared me for such an ascend. At some points it was vertically steep and some others, one missed step would mean a fatal fall to the cliff.

But then again, nothing prepared me for the awe I felt as I saw the mystic valley unfolding in front of my eyes. It was almost surreal, and magical to finally make it to the monastery. The six hours of continuous climb paid off.

We were greeted with curious pairs of eyes of the yaks grazing on the pasture. The kid monks all paused their soccer games and shifted their attention to these two furry friends. Everyone was smiling from ears to ears as we entered the monastery compound.

I later found out from the chief monk whom I talked to that they haven’t seen tourists for a very long time since covid.

That night I had the warmest, most delicious dinner in the monk’s kitchen. The monastery has this new building designated to guests only and the rooms are three times as big as a standard teahouse room, with super comfortable mattress, blankets and pillows.

The hospitality was unmatched anywhere else on the whole Manaslu circuit trek.

Day 07 Serang Gompa

There is no doubt Serang monastery is the most impressive in terms of location and atmosphere among all I have visited in Nepal.

After a restful night, I was awaken to harmonizing gong sounds from the distance and the woody burning juniper scent permeating the air. The gong was sounded to signify the time for morning prayers. All the nuns and young monks gathered in the main monastery hall for their morning ritual. I was lucky enough to be invited to be a part of this soul touching experience. The day just keeps better from here.

I had an amazing breakfast over interesting conversation with the two nuns who made delicious traditional Tibetan bread and butter tea. This was then followed by a tour around the monastery compound led by the generous chief monk. I was introduced and learned more about Buddhism through the two reincarnated lamas who were living in a separated property not too far from the monastery.

Surprisingly enough, Fluffy my husky dog found the new company of another one of his kind living right here in the compound. That explains all the curiosity and amusement I noticed yesterday from everyone when we first arrived. Two huskies living their best lives met at Serang Gompa. What are the odds! Well, there’s my other dog Charlie the Golden Retriever too but he’s missing from the picture due to an injured paw pad and was still taking his much needed rest in our cosy room.

Fluffy said goodbye to his new friend after multiple playful sessions, then we headed home concluding another amazing day in the Himalayas. I know for sure I will be back to this heavenly place some day.

Day 08 Serang Gompa to Prok via Bihi

We bid farewell to all the amazing people at Serang Gompa after breakfast and slowly made our way down back to Bihi to collect our luggages.

It was drizzling a bit on the way down but soon cleared up by the time we reached Bihi for lunch. My boy Charlie is doing much better today thanks to the rest day and the bandage wraps given by the chief monk at Serang.

We quickly packed up after lunch and headed off to Prok before it’s getting late and chilly. The climb to Prok was moderate and pleasant. The village is situated on a plateau and actually visible from Bihi.

There is limited accommodation in Prok since only few tourists choose to venture out to this side of the trail. I only found two teahouses and only one of them was open. The owners were a bit hesitant about the dogs but finally let us in. Our plan is to stay here for two nights and use it as a base to visit Kaal lake tomorrow.

Day 09 Prok to Kaal Taal to Jungle

Fluffy and I set off to explore Kaal lake today while Charlie is planning on letting his paws rest in the room for the whole day.

As recommended, I took a local guide for the hike to Kaal lake, which made sense since the trail can be a bit confusing once leaving the village. The climb was gentle at first, soon turning steep at some points but generally meandering through thick forest with beautiful moss-covered tree trunks.

The piercing sunlight turned the path into a glistening, golden green, making me feel I’m walking in a fairy tale. The guide helped me spot some edible wild mushrooms which I happily collected for lunch later.

By the time we reached the lake, the sun was already giving way to the mystic clouds. It would have been nice to have nice sunny weather but it was beautiful nevertheless. Fluffy escorted me on our climb up a small hill nearby where we can get the panoramic view of the lake under the foggy veil. It was simply breathtaking.

Even my hyper active boy seemed to be enjoying a moment of silence just admiring the nature while we were up there.

I decided to cook a quick lunch with the freshly collected mushrooms before heading down. Then my initial plan of staying suddenly took a twist when I’m back in Prok. Sensing the increased hostility from the teahouse owners towards my dogs, I decided it’s best to choose another place to stay tonight. Since there’s no other option in Prok, I decided to head further down towards Namrung.

It was pretty late and quite unsafe to keep walking in the dark so my choice of accommodation for the day was the first teahouse we stumbled on the trail after a few hours leaving Prok – a place named Jungle. We’re all happy here since the gentleman in the teahouse couldn’t be any more welcoming to my boys.

Day 10 Jungle to Namrung

The boys were sleeping like a log but I could hardly! I had a really rough night due to the bed bugs!

While I have nothing to complain about the hospitality, room hygiene in this teahouse is questionable. Needless to say, it is not recommended.

Our hike today to Namrung is a short one, only two hours. It was in this village where we get to experience a luxury stay in the mountains at Nubri Four Season resort right at the entrance of the village. Probably the best accommodation on Manaslu circuit trek.

We were lucky since the owner was also a dog lover and it was post Covid so we got a very good deal for a luxury stay. We got our own bungalow where my dogs had a separated room next to mine, which was redundant of course since they never sleep without me by their sides.

The room was fancy with private spacious bathroom. On top of that, there were delicious pastry items, coffee from the bakery on site, there was even a sauna room on the property. This all made up for my previous rough night.

We had a long day ahead to chill in Namrung after checking in. Our first destination was the apple farm about forty five minute walk from our hotel. The farm was newly established but started yielding a good crop already. Those were the best apples I ever tasted in my life.

In the afternoon I decided to explore a waterfall nearby. It was a great idea for my water loving boy Charlie but a very poor one for Fluffy. He was pulling a face (and his leash) the whole time.

Day 11 Namrung to Hinang Gompa

For Manaslu Circuit trek, from Namrung, the standard itinerary would be to Lho then to Sama Gaun the following day. But we are taking the trip slow and trying to explore as many interesting side trips as possible, hence our destination for today – Hinang Gompa.

It took us about 3 hours to reach Lho and it was again drizzling so I took a long lunch break before hiking on to Hinang Gompa. The rain finally let off after some time. I was glad that the climb to the monastery was nothing as cruel as the one to Serang Gompa. The path was obviously much less walked and adorned with pretty white flower bushes on both sides.

The fog was coming in as we approached the monastery. There were several big buildings still under construction so the ground scenery was a bit of a chaos but the monastery itself was quite big and impressive. Well worth the climb.

We were arranged accommodation in a big hall in one of the newest buildings and had the whole space to ourselves. The young monks were curious to see Fluffy and Charlie as expected but they soon became friends once Charlie discovered the ball – one of his favorite things in the world.

Dinner was an unforgettable experience where we were all seated in the dining hall with all the monks and watching them pray/chant before meal.

Day 12 Hinang Gompa to Shyala

Another short walk since I plan to hike to Pungyen Gompa before reaching Sama Gaun the next day. The weather starts picking up today with Manaslu coming in full sight by the time we arrive at Shyala. This is absolutely my favorite village in terms of mountain view.

I got a room facing the mountain directly with no obstruction and went to bed hoping for a brilliant sunrise the next day through the window.

Day 13 Shyala to Sama Gaun via Pungyen Gompa

The sunrise over Manaslu this morning didn’t disappoint. After breakfast, Fluffy, Charlie and I started the day in high spirits as always. It took us about 2 hours to reach the last suspension bridge before Sama Gaun.

We didn’t head to the village straight away and took a left turn to Pungyen Gompa – a popular side trip destination offering great view of Manaslu. I decided to carry only my important gears on the way up and leave the remaining luggage by the road. It was a steep climb up the ridge with the river along side for about 45 minutes before reaching a beautiful wide plateau. We had multiple encounters with local yaks on the way, some of which were determined to figure out what species Fluffy and Charlie are.

Unfortunately the weather was not on our side this time. By the time we reached the monastery it was all foggy and we could hardly see any mountains. Time to head down to Sama Gaun for some rest and hope for better weather tomorrow.

Day 14 Day trip to Pungyen Gompa

Determined to catch a good sunrise and clear view over Manaslu this morning, I’m set to hike Pungyen Gompa again as early as 4am from Sama Gaun. Unfortunately foggy weather prolonged and the view was not any more promising than yesterday.

On your resting day in Sama Gaun, you can actually have another option for day hike which is to Manaslu Base Camp. View wise, it is quite similar from both sites. Distance wise, the trail to Pungyen Gompa is a bit shorter and easier. The time I was there coincides with the end of expedition season in Manaslu. The trail between Sama Gaun and Manaslu Basecamp was quite busy with sherpas and climbers shifting their gears back after the climb so I figured it’s better to avoid the crowd.

Anyways, on the way down from Pungyen while passing through a local yak herder’s shed I struck a conversation with the old couple and was offered fresh yak milk for breakfast. Yummy.

We went back to our teahouse for some rest before hiking to Birendra lake around midday. This is another popular day hike for those taking acclimatization day in Sama Gaun. And it’s definitely Charlie’s favorite since he gets to dip himself in the water fetching imaginary sticks.

Within a short walk from the village, there’s also an ancient monastery worth checking out. And that’s a wrap for our acclimatization day in Sama Gaun.

Day 15 Sama Gaun to Samdo

The walk from Sama Gaun to Samdo only takes about 3 hours so we’re taking it slowly today. Late breakfast was then followed by a second round of coffee with the yak milk brought back from Pungyen Gompa yesterday. Then I’m ready for 320 m / 1049 ft elevation gain today.

We reached Samdo in early afternoon. This is the last village before crossing Larke Pass. Trekkers would normally take another extra day here for acclimatization since the elevation is already at 3865 m / 12680 ft. I figure we’ve probably had enough acclimatization over the last 2 days so will only spend one night here. For those staying, you can choose to hike towards Tibetan border to better acclimatize yourself.

Day 16 Samdo to Dharmashala

Another day walking in high altitude. Our destination for the day is Dharmasala, a very basic settlement for trekkers only with limited facilities compared to all the teahouses in the villages on our way up. Fortunately we were there right after Covid time and it was very quiet so there was no issue with accommodation.

There was no electricity or wifi, no running water. The room comes with a mattress on the floor and a blanket. And we didn’t need anything more than that. We had an early dinner and hit the bed as early as 7 pm in preparation for the big day tomorrow.

Bear in mind that Samdo is the last village where you can find electricity and wifi connection until you reach Bimthang on the other side of Larke Pass. So make sure you fully charge your gears before departing.

Also, just to be on the safe side, you should let your friends and family back home know that you won’t be reachable within the next 2 days. You could pass your guide’s contact number if you don’t have a local number just in case. NTC sim card should still work close to Dharmashala.

Day 17 Dharmashala to Bimthang via Larkya Pass

My alarm went off at 4 am. While I could easily snooze this one for another 10 minutes sleep in, my other two four-legged alarms won’t allow any delay. The night looks clear and starry, signifying favorable weather for pass crossing today.

It was a gradual climb from Dharmasala to Larke Pass following clearly marked snow poles on the way. We reached the highest point of our trip around 8am. What an amazing feeling to be able to celebrate with my two boys. Although I’m not sure they’re thinking the same since both were struggling to keep their eyes open when taking rest on the pass.

After some chocolate for myself and beef jerky for my boys as rewards, we quickly made our way down since we still have a long walking day ahead.

We had our lunch break at a no name teahouse 3 hours after the pass. Now there’s one last side trip that I want to explore this time which is Ponker lake and visible from our lunch place. I was contemplating whether to visit the lake now on the way down to Bimthang or save it for tomorrow. After discussing with the teahouse lady I figure out the best option would be the former one since I don’t want to walk a long way back from Bimthang to the lake tomorrow.

From our lunch spot we took a shortcut by crossing a relatively challenging glacier section. While it was definitely not a recommended route for all trekkers, we took the risk and thankfully all made it. Ponker lake was absolutely beautiful and worth the extra walk.

If you’re interested in this side trip I would recommend spending an extra night in Bimthang and visit the lake on the second day. Otherwise it can be exhausting if you try to fit it in one day.

Day 18 Bimthang to Dharapani and Drive to Beshi Sahar

We all slept like a log last night after such an intensive day. Today is our last walking day and the longest day in terms of distance covering 28 km / 17.5 miles.

Thankfully it is all downhill to Dharapani. We reached around 6 pm and were lucky enough to find a shared jeep to Beshi Sahar the same night. Beshi sahar is the transportation hub where you can easily find bus or jeep to Kathmandu or Pokhara or any other destinations in Nepal.

As of now the track is being opened further north of Dharapani toward Bimthang. It is still under construction and there is no reliable regularly local jeep service on this track. You can plan to hike down from Bimthang toward Dharapani and take a jeep down to Dharapani or further down if available to avoid long walk.

Trust me you will be surprised to see the volume of trekkers on the Annapurna Circuit once you read Dharapani. If you still have a time of 7 to 10 days, you can continue further up from Dharapani do Thorong La Pass and end your trip in Pokhara directly.

We stayed in Beshi Sahar, next morning we head to Begnas Lake near Pokhara and stayed a few days before heading back to Kathmandu.

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