Manaslu Circuit Upper Route Trek

The Best Way to Avoid the crowdsratingbased on 7 reviews
  • Duration19 Days
  • Difficulty Level Strenuous
  • Activity Trekking/Hiking
  • Max. Altitude 5106 m
  • Group Size 2-20 People
  • Best Season March to May and September to November
Group Discount Prices
2 - 3 paxUS$1145
4 - 6 paxUS$1045
7 - 10 paxUS$999
11 - 15 paxUS$950
16 - 20 paxUS$899
Manaslu Circuit Upper Route Trek Highlights
  • The most peaceful, scenic, and secluded route through the Manaslu region.
  • The matchless scenery and unsurpassed views of Manaslu from Lho and Shyala
  • Day hikes to Kal Tal, Pungen Gompa, Manaslu base Camp, Rui La, etc.
  • The varied landscapes, wilderness, and diverse fauna of Manaslu National park
  • Intimate perspectives and experiences of the valley’s Tibetan culture and monasteries.
  • Reaching the high point of Larke La

Slowly taking on the status of the perfect alternative to the considerably better-known Annapurna trail, the standard Manaslu Circuit offers an impressive array of features that place it at the very forefront of all discussions regarding Nepal’s finest trekking experiences. The Manaslu Circuit Upper Route Trek offers an even more interesting alternative that takes a rugged and much less traveled trail higher on the mountain’s slopes. If you’re looking for a real adventure in a manner that makes you feel like you have the Manaslu region to yourself then the higher passage provides the answer.

Unlike the traditional path of staying at tea houses, the upper route requires the occasional homestay, and there’s no better way to immerse you in the local and friendly culture than by accepting the warm hospitality of the local people while staying as a guest in their humble homes.

The Manaslu Circuit Upper Route Trek begins at Barpak, a town of sublime beauty perched high on a slope amidst picture-perfect views and exquisite grass-green terraced fields, with the Buddha Himal range as the perfect backdrop. Barpak was at the epicenter of the 2015 earthquake and was decimated by the tremors, yet the resilience and spirit of the people have seen them largely restore the town to something resembling its former appearance.

From Barpak the trail ascends markedly to Mamche at 2800m and further stunning views, then wanders down through green meadows and meandering streams towards the pretty Gurung village of Laprak and a homestay at Khorlabensi, the final stop on the unique trail before joining the standard Manaslu route at Jagat. It’s at this point that the trek enters the restricted region for Manaslu, requiring registration at the nearby National Park office.

At Deng, our trek deviates again from the classic route and heads back to higher ground, on and up through rugged terrain and a deep gorge to the stunning setting for the village of Prok. Prok offers up one of Manaslu’s many amazing detours, a visit to Kal Tal (Black Lake) which is so off the beaten trail that we typically have to hire the services of a local guide to find our way there for the full-day hike.

The following day provides arguably the most stunning hike of the trip, leading to the village of Lho and the most panoramic and intimate views of Manaslu one is likely to find in the valley – short of actually climbing the mountain! A side excursion to Ribung Gompa adds even further to the exhilarating experience, and if that isn’t enough the unique Tibetan settlement of Shyala offers even more startling views before the trail rejoins the standard route again at Samagaun. 

From Samagaun onward the Manaslu Circuit Upper Route offers standard and delightful side excursions during the necessary rest days for acclimation, including day hikes to Manaslu Base camp, Birendra Lake, Pungen Gompa, and the Tibet border Rui La. From Samagaun and Samdo it’s soon on to the ultimate goal of Larkya La (5106 m/16572 ft.) before completing the trek at Dharapani and returning by road to Kathmandu.

We have a particular affinity for the Manaslu region because many of our staff grew up in the area, so we know the valley and all its nuances better than anyone else. The Manaslu Upper Route Trek is one of our specialties because we know the trail and the people so when it comes to homestays and lodging we know who to call on. Drop us a note by email and see what we can do to arrange the details for you, or you can run your thoughts by us to see what we can arrange.

Useful Information

Manaslu Circuit Trekking Permit

Manaslu Circuit Trek lies in a restricted area and requires a special permit, a government-registered trekking agency, and a licensed guide to trek in this region. A minimum of two people are required to obtain the trekking permit for the area. The special permit costs $100 from September to November for the first seven days plus $15 for each additional day, and $75 from December to August for the first seven days plus $10 per additional day. The costs are per person. Trekkers are also required to have an Annapurna and Manaslu Conservation Area permit from the Nepal Tourism Board at a cost of 3000 Nepali rupees per person, including 13% VAT for each different region. For further details, please contact us.

Transportation for Manaslu Circuit Trekking 

As per the package, Nepal Trekking Experts offers transportation by bus (available early in the morning only) from Kathmandu (Gongabu Bus Park) to Machhakhola (9/10 hrs) and Dharapani to Besisahar by a local Jeep (4/5 hrs), then we switch to another bus or van to Kathmandu (6/7 hrs). The bus might be congested, overcrowded (especially if you are traveling during festival time), not tidy, and stop in many villages to pick up and drop off more people en route, but it definitely takes a couple of hours longer than a private jeep to reach the final destination. However, you can take part of the experience and enjoy it as well. Otherwise, we provide private transportation on request, which costs a total of $200 to Machhakhola and $250 from Dharapani to Kathmandu.

Manaslu Circuit Trekking Meal

Consider that you are in South Asia in Nepal and going through unexplored, very remote areas to experience the country's unspoiled splendor. Typically, the menus at each tea house in the villages are rather similar. Overall, you can choose from a variety of local dishes like Dal Bhat (rice, vegetable curry, lentil soup, pickle that can be refilled as much as you like), fried rice, dumplings (Mo Mo Tibetan meal), Thukpa, any style of potato (boiled or fried), spring rolls, or western dishes like pasta, pizza, noodles, any style of egg, porridge, muesli, chapati, Tibetan bread, etc.

Manaslu Circuit Trekking Accommodation

The Manaslu circuit trek lodging is not as luxurious as in the Annapurna, Everest, and Langtang regions, despite the fact that the Manaslu region is a relatively isolated, lesser-known, and less-frequented trekking route in Nepal. The tea house trek can be done similarly to other well-known hiking routes. Typically, you have to share a toilet, bathroom, and each room will have two beds. You may purchase a hot shower for about 3/4 of a dollar depending on where you have been.

Telephone, Internet, and Battery Charging


Nowadays, most villages have phone service and mobile reception. NCELL and Nepal Telecom are our two major sim card providers. Nepal Telecom is recommended by NTE for better reception in the Manaslu region.


Certain villages and tea houses like Philim, Namrung, Lho, Samagaon, Samdo, Bhimthang, and Dharapani have internet, but consider that sometimes it may not be reliable due to weather and other issues.

Battery Charging

Despite being in a very remote trekking region, most of the tea houses have either electricity or solar power. Each tea house charges a small fee for electricity. A fully charged device costs roughly 2/3 of a dollar in rupees. Carrying a power bank may be useful during the trek in the Himalayas.

Manaslu Circuit Trekking Difficulty

While the landscape is rugged, with numerous landslide areas, the trail is uneven, you may encounter difficulties for the first few days. However, you will gradually build muscle and adapt to the terrain. Because the trek begins at 930m Machhakhola, you will gain elevation gradually, which will aid in acclimatization. Almost two weeks of walking six to seven hours per day on uneven trails and crossing 5060 meters will not be easy for anyone. This is why we recommend trekking, hiking, jogging, gym, cardio, and other physical activities before visiting Nepal. But don't be discouraged; this isn't mountain climbing, and the Manaslu circuit requires no special training or prior experience. We have successfully organized people ranging in age from 8 to 75. This trek is suitable for both beginners and family groups too.


As per the tailored-made packages, porter is excluded. But if you would like to have porters, we will be more than happy to offer them. Normally, we provide a porter for two people, and he carries 20 kilos. A porter makes a massive difference in terms of avoiding carrying a burden of kilos and enjoying the beautiful surroundings. I am pretty sure you are fit enough, but if you ask me, I would recommend a porter since it makes a huge difference on the high altitude, rugged, and uneven trails.

  • Max. Altitude:1400m/4593ft.
  • Meals:Breakfast
  • Accommodation:2/3 Star Hotel

Welcome at the Airport and transfer to the Hotel. Introduce the program then enjoy your first night in cultural diversity in Kathmandu.

  • Max. Altitude:1400m/4593ft.
  • Meals:Breakfast
  • Accommodation:2/3 Star Hotel

Free day for final trekking preparation and exploring Kathmandu.

  • Max. Altitude:1915m/6283ft.
  • Meals:Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Accommodation:Tea House

We start our adventure through the Manaslu region with a bus journey to Barpak, a town beautifully set amid terraced fields and which was, tragically, at the epicenter of the 2015 earthquake that struck Nepal and caused so much devastation. The stoic residents have slowly rebuilt the community and its setting is as exhilarating as ever to behold.

  • Max. Altitude:2100m/6890ft.
  • Meals:Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Accommodation:Tea House

Our trek begins with a steep ascent along countless stone steps that scythe through the encroaching jungle on either side, leading us through peaceful villages set serenely atop hillsides with views towards the Ganesh Himal and Buddha Himal in the distance. As an alternative route to the regular path taken by the banks of the Budhi Gandaki, our journey through the mountains is a serene one that gives a complete sense of isolation from everything bar the welcome interaction with the local people.

  • Max. Altitude:970m/3182ft.
  • Meals:Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Accommodation:Tea House

The trail to Khorla Besi begins with a steady descent until we reach a suspension bridge and a path that takes us on to the village of Singla and its glorious views of the surrounding mountain ranges. After lunch, the trail leads downhill again until we come to the Budhi Gandaki River and join the main route through Manaslu.

  • Max. Altitude:1340m/4396ft.
  • Meals:Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Accommodation:Tea House

Our old friend the Budhi Gandaki leads us away again on a trail that takes us to Tatopani and its famous hot springs. From there we hike to Dovan and finally Jagat, the threshold to the Manaslu conservation region.

  • Max. Altitude:1860m/6102ft.
  • Meals:Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Accommodation:Tea House

Our day begins by walking through subtropical rainforests and a series of small hamlets, traversing a couple of suspension bridges on the way, the last of which leads us into the village of Philim and its beautiful setting amidst terraced fields overlooking the river. Further along the trail we arrive at the junction for Tsum Valley and Larkya La and take the path heading northwest towards Deng.

  • Max. Altitude:2397m/7864ft.
  • Meals:Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Accommodation:Tea House

An undulating trail and a series of suspension bridges take us to Bihi Phedi, and from there a junction leads us away from the main trail towards Prok, a scenic village where we'll indulge in the culturally unique experience of a homestay for the night.

  • Max. Altitude:2397m/7864ft.
  • Meals:Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Accommodation:Tea House

A trail takes us through lush forests to the beautiful and rarely seen lake of Kal Tal (Black Lake) set high amidst the local ranges, and after suitable time to take in the scenic setting and eat our packed lunch, we make the return journey to Prok and another evening with our hosts.

  • Max. Altitude:3180m/10433ft.
  • Meals:Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Accommodation:Tea House

The trail from Prok takes us back to the main route, and from there we gradually ascend to Namrung and spectacular views of the mountains as the valley opens up before us. The temperate forests give way steadily as the trail breaks free of the tree line and climbs higher, the lush greens of the lower valley giving way to the muted browns and grays of the Himalayan terrain and the vivid blue skies one only experiences at altitude. The day's hike is capped off by our arrival at the beautiful village of Lho and its glorious vista of Manaslu, with the monastery of Rebung Gompa, set serenely atop a hilltop nearby.

  • Max. Altitude:3520m/11549ft.
  • Meals:Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Accommodation:Tea House

From Lho we hike to the equally impressive village of Shyala and its spectacular vistas of Manaslu, Himal Chuli, Nadi, Naike, Kutang Himal, and Pangbuche Himal, then climb steadily through yak pasturelands to Samagaun. With plenty of time left over from the day, there's ample opportunity to make the quick hike to Birendra Lake.

  • Max. Altitude:3520m/11549ft.
  • Meals:Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Accommodation:Tea House

Samagaun is our temporary home for the day as we give our bodies time to acclimate to the altitude, and the choice is a good one as the village provides multiple choices for day excursions, including a short excursion to the pretty lake of Birendra Taal nearby, the highly rewarding and dramatic hike to Manaslu Base camp, or the alternative walk to Pungen Gompa and its serene setting amidst the mountains.

  • Max. Altitude:3860m/12664ft.
  • Meals:Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Accommodation:Tea House

Onward and up is the motto of the day as we put our heads down determinably with the goal of Larkya La ever nearer.  The trail takes us on a short and gradual climb alongside the river then begins to steepen as it leads us up to Samdo around midday. There is plenty of time in the afternoon to explore and perhaps hike to a higher altitude briefly to aid the process of acclimatization.

  • Max. Altitude:3860m/12664ft.
  • Meals:Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Accommodation:Tea House

Another rest day to help acclimatize, with the rare option to spend the day on a hike to the border with Tibet at the pass of Rui La (4998m). The views of the Himalayas and Fukang Glacier add another level to the day's journey.

  • Max. Altitude:4460m/14633ft.
  • Meals:Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Accommodation:Tea House

Our trek to the high-altitude camp of Dharmsala brings us to the very threshold of Larkya La, with snow more evident and the air ever thinner with each step toward our destination. Another brief hike to higher ground is recommended to help our bodies acclimate to the altitude and sleep better during the night.

  • Max. Altitude:3590m/11778ft.
  • Meals:Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Accommodation:Tea House

The typical method for crossing Larkya La is to leave before daybreak, our head-mounted lights bobbing in the dark as we clamber up the path in the cold morning air, our breath apparent in the glow of the lamps.  The trail to Larkya La is a deceptive one of constant switchbacks, promising everything and snatching it away with one false ridge leading to another. We catch a glimpse of the first prayer flags and finally attain our goal as we stumble wearily to the marker and pose proudly for our cameras to mark the achievement. After pausing to luxuriate in the accomplishment and take in the magnificent views we begin the hike to Bhimthang, putting our trekking poles to good use to spare our tired legs and knees from the steep descent to the arid valley below.

  • Max. Altitude:1960m/6430ft.
  • Meals:Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Accommodation:Tea House

With views of Manaslu to our left and the Annapurna ranges to our right we descend from Bhimthang through yak pastures to the first signs of the Dudh Khola's headwaters trickling down the slope.  A bridge across leads to a path that gradually leaves behind the alpine climate and takes us down through familiar rhododendron forests to a narrow valley of terraced fields and patchwork crops. We reach the small and picturesque village of Tilje, then make our way uphill to Dharapani, the major trekking confluence in the region and a modern starting point for trekkers heading out on the Annapurna Circuit. With time and intent, we too can head in the same direction.

  • Max. Altitude:1400m/4593ft.
  • Meals:Breakfast & Lunch

A long day's driving by jeep/bus to either Pokhara or Kathmandu.

    Farewell and drop-off at the airport, or the opportunity to join another of our programs.

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    What's Included
    Cost Includes
    • Complimentary airport picks up and drops off
    • Complimentary welcome dinner
    • Two-night stay on arrival in Kathmandu with breakfast included (twin share basis)
    • All necessary trekking permits such as Annapurna conservation area permit, Manaslu special, Manaslu conservation area, TIMS card, etc.
    • All accommodations during the trek
    • Three meals a day during the trek
    • A cup of tea or coffee with the meal
    • Fresh fruit each day if and when available
    • Complimentary duffel bag, agency T-shirt, trekking map, and sleeping bag if needed
    • Government-registered and first-aid-trained professional local guide who speaks English
    • First-aid kit
    • Kathmandu to Barpak by bus
    • Dharapani to Kathmandu by bus
    • Staff insurance, meals, accommodation, equipment, transportation, etc.
    • Rescue arrangements if necessary
    • Agency service charge and government tax/VAT
    • Certificate of achievement
    Cost Excludes
    • International airfare and Nepal visa fee
    • Lunch and dinner in Kathmandu
    • Porters to carry your backpacks (we provide porters on request)
    • Personal Insurance, personal expenses, loss of property and theft, etc.
    • Sightseeing costs (temples, monasteries, etc.)
    • All beverages, snacks, and additional expenses such as laundry, hot showers, battery charging, wifi, etc.
    • Tipping to staff
    Route MapDownload Map
    Manaslu Circuit Upper Route Trek map
    Dates & Availability
    Start:SundayOct 01, 2023
    End:ThursdayOct 19, 2023
    Start:SundayOct 15, 2023
    End:ThursdayNov 02, 2023


    Are you satisfied with the group departure dates? Aside from that, we organize private trips or any special dates you prefer. Let's talk to our local specialist now.

    Photos & Videos
    7Travelers' Reviews
    • TripAdvisor
      rating star

      First rate experience

      Mar 2023 • Couples

      This is the easiest five star review ever. The whole team was excellent. Rajesh was informative and helpful in coordinating all the back end logistics flawlessly. Our guide, Ganesh, and porter, Gokul, were unfailingly charming, thoughtful, and extremely competent. I’m travelled all over the world and been on many guided tours and treks, and I can say with confidence that these guys are among the very best. I literally can think of nothing they could have done better.

      We did the Manaslu upper route, which we very much enjoyed as it provides a more authentic experience in some Nepali villages early on (plus stellar views you don’t get on the main route) and a trip to Prok, which may actually be Shangri La.

      Eric DApr 15, 2023United States
    • TripAdvisor
      rating star

      Super-professional, great team,truly experts

      Mar 2023 • Solo

      Rajesh and the team (Binod, Kritam and Chhwang) that managed the Manaslu trek for me and a couple of other hikers were all fantastic.
      This was my first trek in Nepal (although I have a lot of hiking and climbing experience elsewhere), and I had of course many questions before leaving. The answers were always precise and fast. This made me choose this company, since when you are out above 5000m, you need quick and good answers :-) :-)
      During the trek Binod, Kritam and Chhwang were even too professional :-) :-) They made our ascent easy, despite the challenges from elevation, distance and climate, and in the end we made it through the pass despite the heavy snowfalls that had covered it with a meter of snow in March (a very unusual occurrence). Without Binod and his experience, that helped him coordinate the ascent with other guides and porters, none of the 30-40 people who crossed the pass that day would have made it. They would have had to go back down the Budhi Gandaki valley with a sad look on their faces (like several other groups we saw before the crossing, and that made us a bit uncomfortable, I must say :-) :-) ). Sure, this was not Everest, but still crossing Larke pass in the wrong conditions, e.g. too late in the day when the weather turns bad, can end up being deadly.
      They were all very nice, and we enjoyed their company enormously, much more as friends than as people hired to complete a task. Carrying apples and pomegranates on their shoulders to provide us with a nice fruit dessert every day was a wonderful touch.
      The high route to the Manaslu circuit, via Barpak and Laprak, was a very good choice, offering great views of Ganesh Himal and an unmatched opportunity to celebrate the Holi festival on a hilltop with locals.
      Just one tip: learn what "Nepali flat" means before you go. It's NOT flat at all :-) :-) On many days we climbed 1000-1500m, and went down 400-600m, despite being still nominally on a valley bottom in the low part of the trek. Landslides, rock walls and so on make Nepali trails very "unflat" :-) And beware also of so-called "rest days". They can be even more tiring than regular trekking days, because you are actually supposed to hike very high (without backpacks) to better acclimatize, up to 1500m in a day. But at the end the pass will look almost like an effortless job (that is, unless it's covered in snow :-) ).
      I will be back with them next year :-)

      Luciano LMar 26, 2023Italy
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