The Manaslu region has only recently been opened up to trekking and as a result is relatively unspoilt. There are very few tea houses, and it is normal to camp on the trek. Although there are very few trekkers it can be rather busy on the campsites as they are quite small and there is usually only one in each village. However, the region is extremely attractive and well-kept. The main track through every village is paved with large slabs of rock, and there is a plaque at the entrance to the village indicating the sources of the funding for the project. In every case the Women’s Committee of the village has provided a large percentage of the cost with the King Mahendra Trust for Nature Conservation providing the rest.
Day 1 Kathmandu - Arughat (530m)
We drive through Dhading to the crossing of the Ankhu Khola river (4 hours). From here we walk a short distance along the valley of the Buri Gandaki river to the small market town of Arughat.
Day 2 Arughat - Lapbesi (820m)
For the next few days the trail follows the Buri Gandaki right up to its source below the Larkya La pass. Today we continue through cultivated fields, crossing several tributaries until we have to leave the river bed for a path higher up the mountain side.
Day 3 Lapbesi - Dovan (1300m)
We follow the river bed again for a while before winding up the mountain side to a higher path. The cultivated fields end after Machha Khola, and the path goes up and down again passing the hot springs at Tatopani (which translates as ‘hot water’).
Day 4 Dovan - Sherson (1600m)
For a time the Buri Gandaki becomes an area of rapids then once again levels off and starts to meander. We are again in an area of fields until at Jagat where there is a check post. At Saguleri we are able to see Sringi Himal (7187m) at the end of the valley to the north.
Day 5 Sherson - Bihi (2130m)
After Sherson the valley becomes a steep-sided gorge, and we follow this past the confluence of the Shyar Chu on the right with its abundant flow. The path now takes a big loop to the right and then left crossing the river twice in a short distance. We continue along the true right bank of the river before crossing again to go up to Bihi.
Day 6 Bihi - Lihi (2900m)
Today and the next day are notable for the number of gompas (monasteries) in the area - a total of six in all on both sides of the river. At Namrung we find another check post, and the path continues to rise and fall until we reach Lihi.
Day 7 Lihi - Sama (3360m)
Shortly after passing through the village of Sho we obtain views of Manaslu North (7157m) then Manaslu (8163m) itself. Looking back from Lho we are able to see Ganesh Himal (7429m) which we are able to see also from our hotel in Kathmandu. As we follow the river past Lho Peak 29 (7871m) comes into sight ahead.
Day 8 Sama (3360m)
Rest and acclimatisation day. There is a worthwhile side trip up to Pungyen Glacier which gives good views of Peak 29 and Manaslu. We usually take a walk up here to about 4000m to help with the acclimatisation process.
Day 9 Sama - Dharamsala (4460m)
The path continues sometimes on the river bed and somtimes on the mountainside to Somdu which is the most remote permanent settlement. About 200 villagers live here in 40 huts in the most severe conditions. Further on we pass the remains of the once thriving Larkya Bazar below and then on to Dharamsala a defunct tea house.
Day 10 Dharamsala - Larkya La (5220m) - Tabuche (4710m)
The path climbs gently for some distance and then steepens for the final pull up to the pass, Larkya La (5220m). A classic vista to the west is revealed: Himlung Himal (7126m), Cheo Himal (6892m), Gyaji Kang (6900m), Kangguru (6981m), and Annapurna II (7937m). The west side of the pass is a steep, rocky descent unlike the east face. After reaching an ablation valley the descent is more gentle down to the roofless stone hut of Tauche.
Day 11 Tabuche - Karche (2640m)
We continue on down moraines through Bimtang then ascend to a ridge at 4160m elevation where we again obtain fine views of Manaslu, Manaslu North, Annapurna II and Lamjung Himal (6893m). We cross the headwaters of the Dudh Khola (Milk River) and then descend through magnificent rhododendron forest to Hampuk Cave. At a break in the forest we catch our final glimpse of Manaslu behind us. More forest leads on down to the cultivated fields of Karche.
Day 12 Karche - Tal (1680m)
We follow the Dudh Khola down to the valley of the Marsyangdi Khola. At Thonje there is another check post, and after the village we meet the Annapurna Circuit trail at Dharapani with its groups of trekkers going in the opposite direction to us on their way up to Manang.
Day 13 Tal - Bahundanda (1640)
We continue along the valley of the Marsyangdi which is fairly level until the ridge of Bahundanda appears. We climb this up to the village which is strung out along the ridge.
Day 14 Bahundanda - Besi Sahar (760m)
The final day of the trek follows in the reverse direction the first day of the Annapurna Circuit trek.
Day 15 Besi Sahar - Kathmandu