Manaslu Circuit Trek VS Annapurna Circuit trek

Manaslu Circuit Trek VS Annapurna Circuit trek

Manaslu and Annapurna are two exciting treks in the central north of Nepal. While the Annapurna Circuit Trek has been famous for more than half a century, the Manaslu Circuit Trek is a newly discovered trail, recently getting much attention worldwide. So, if you are planning your trek to Nepal, you might be overwhelmed by all the explanations about these two treks in Nepal.

Now, let’s clear your confusion and find out Manaslu Circuit Trek vs. Annapurna Circuit Trek to pick the best one.


Manaslu Circuit Trek 

The Manaslu region lies within the Gorkha district of Nepal, east of the Annapurna range. It is home to Mount Manaslu, the world’s 8th-highest peak at 8,163 meters above sea level. In Sanskrit, Manasa means “intellect” or “soul.”. After many unsuccessful attempts, Manaslu was first climbed in 1956 by the Japanese team. The entire region is protected under the Manaslu Conservation Area. This conservation area of 1,663 sq. km (642 sq mi) was established in 1998. 

Manaslu Circuit trek the circumference of Mount Manaslu from Soti Khola to Dharapani, almost completing the circle in 13 to 17 days. In the circumference, we cross the subtropical Himalayan foothills in the lower region and enter the alpine air, offering an utterly distinct view. For many years, this restricted trekking region of Nepal remained a camping trek, thus only accessible to professional trekkers. However, Manaslu Trek has now become a teahouse trekking trail, thus attracting the world’s attention.

Annapurna Circuit trek

The Annapurna region mainly lies within the Lamjung, Manang, and Mustang districts of Nepal, near the Annapurna range. It is home to Mount Annapurna, the world’s 10th-highest peak, at 8,091 meters above sea level. It is also called the most beautiful mountain in Nepal. In Sanskrit, Anna means “food” or “nourishment,” and Purna means “fulfilment. 

A French expedition team first climbed Annapurna in 1950. Since then, the trek to Annapurna has started gaining the attention of the whole world. The mountain is protected under the Annapurna Conservation Area, the largest in Nepal. This 7,629-square-kilometre (2,946 sq mi) conservation area was made in 1986. 

Annapurna Circuit treks the circumference of Mount Annapurna from Besishar to Jomsom in 13 to 17 days. In the circumference, we cross the subtropical Himalayan foothills in the lower region and enter the semi-arid landscape of Manang and Mustang, offering an utterly distinct landscape view.

Trek highlights: Annapurna Circuit trek vs Manaslu Circuit trek

Annapurna Circuit trekManaslu Circuit trek
View of Annapurna, Dhaulagiri, Fishtail, Mardi, Gangapurna, Khangsar Kang, Tarke Kang, Lachenal Peak, Nilgiri Himal North/Central/South, and many more peaks above 6,000 meters from the different viewpointsConquer Larke Pass, 5160 m above sea level
Conquer Larke Pass, 5160 m above sea levelVisit Muktinath, Nepal’s most holy pilgrimage site for Hindu and Buddhist followers.
Visit Pungen Monastery, one of the oldest Buddhist monasteries in the Manaslu region.Visit Pungen Monastery, one of the oldest Buddhist monasteries in the Manaslu region
Witness the unique landscape and culture of ManangWitness the unique landscape and culture of Sama Gaun and Samdo
Visit Muktinath, Nepal’s most holy pilgrimage site for Hindu and Buddhist followersTrek along the Budi-Gandaki gorge
A chance to visit Phewa Lake and other natural wonders of Pokhara 

Trek Overview: Manaslu Circuit Trek VS Annapurna Circuit Trek

To start the Manaslu circuit trek, you shall first drive to Arughat Bazaar in Gorkha and get the Jeep to Soti Khola. From here, you walk to Machha Khola and Jagat. Getting deeper into the Manaslu area, we stop at villages such as Deng, Namrung, and Lho before getting to Sama Gaon. From Sama Goan, we can visit Manaslu Base Camp or Pungen Monastery before walking to Samdo. Here, we see a Tibetan border before getting down to Dharamsala. Finally, we cross Larke Pass (5160 m) to get to Bhimtang to join the Annapurna Circuit trek trail at Dharapani. From here, we drive to Besishar and then to Kathmandu, thus ending our trip. 

To start the Annapurna Circuit Trek, one must drive to Besisahar, the headquarters of the Lamjung district, and then head to Jagat on a Jeep. Then, you shall cross Dharapani to get into Chame and Pisang before getting to Manang. The restricted trekking region of Manang is our acclimatization point before we cross Thorong La High Pass and enter the Mustang district. Thus, after visiting Muktinath and Jomsom, we walked down to Tatopani. From Tatopani, we drive to Pokhara, the magical city of lakes. A final tour to Kathmandu brings our trip to an end. 

Trek Itinerary: Manaslu Circuit Trek VS Annapurna Circuit Trek

Manaslu Circuit Trek ItineraryAnnapurna Circuit Trek Itinerary
Day 1: Drive from Kathmandu to Soti Khola (710m)
Day 2: Trek from Soti Khola to Machha Khola (900 m)
Day 3: Trek from Machha Khola to Jagat (1340 m)
Day 4: Trek from Jagat to Deng (Dyang) (1860 m)
Day 5: Trek from Deng to Namrung (2660 m)
Day 6: Trek from Namrung to Sama Gaun (3220 m)
Day 7: Acclimatization Day at Sama Gaun (3220 m)
Day 8: Trek from Sama Gaun to Samdo (3860 m)
Day 9: Rest Day at Samdo (3860 m) (Acclimatization Hike to Tibet Border)
Day 10: Trek from Samdo to Dharamasala (4480 m)
Day 11: Trek from Dharamasala to Bhimtang (3750 m) via Larke Pass (5160 m)
Day 12: Trek from Bhimtang to Gho (2550 m)
Day 13: Trek from Gho to Dharapani (1910 m)
Day 14: Drive from Dharapani to Beshisahar to Kathmandu
Day 1: Kathmandu to Besisahar to Jagat (1,100m)
Day 2: Trek to Dharapani (1,960m)
Day 3: Trek to Chame (2,710m)
Day 4: Trek to Pisang (3,300m)
Day 5: Trek to Manang (3,500m)
Day 6: Acclimatization Day at Manang
Day 7: Trek to Yak Kharka(4,110m)
Day 8: Trek to Thorong Phedi(4,600m)
Day 9:Trek to Thorong La – Muktinath(3,800m)
Day 10: Trek to Tatopani(2,135 m)
Day 11: Drive to Pokhara (2800m)
Day 12: Drive/ fly to Kathmandu (1400m)

Trek facts: Manaslu VS Annapurna Circuit trek

ParameterAnnapurna Circuit trekManaslu Circuit trek
Max elevation5416 m  5167 m
Trek duration12 days14 days
Trek Cost$1200$900
Trek distance160 and 200 kilometres 177 kilometres
Trek DifficultyModerateModerate
Solo TrekkingAllowedNot allowed
Independent trekkingAllowedNot allowed
GuideNot CompulsoryCompulsory
Travel agency bookingNot CompulsoryNot Compulsory but recommended
TrailWell Marked  Well Marked  
PermitTIMS card and Annapurna Conservation area permitAnnapurna Conservation Area permit, Manaslu Conservation Area permit, Manaslu Restricted Area permit

Difference in Experience

ParameterAnnapurna Circuit trekManaslu Circuit trek
Ethics TribeGurung, Ghale, Manange & ThakaliLama, Thakuri & Bhote
Possible side tripsTilicho Lake, Ice Lake, Gangapurna Lake & Nar Phu Valley  Serang Gompa, Hinang Gompa, Pungyen Gompa, Birendra Lake, Manaslu Base Camp & Tsum Valley
Access to Tibet BorderYesNo
Domestic Flight availabilityFrom Jomsom to PokharaNO
Major RiverMarsyangdi & KaligandakiBudi Gandaki
AccommodationTea House and HotelsTea house
CrowdRelatively highRelatively low

Which is more arduous, the Annapurna or Manasu Circuit trek?

Although considered moderately challenging, newbie trekkers find the Manaslu Circuit more physically demanding. Since the Manaslu Circuit trek has many stairs, narrow passages, and long distances to travel, it is hard. Also, if you plan the Manaslu-TUSM Valley trek by adding more destinations, it gets more complicated. The Annapurna Circuit trek is also challenging, but with the proper guidance, the only hard part is the Thorang La pass. Although the distance is higher on the Annapurna Circuit trek, the path is relatively easy. 

Conclusion and Verdit 

Well, both treks are fantastic and one of the best treks on earth. The Annapurna Circuit is already famous worldwide and very frequently talked about. It’s relatively easy to do, and the choices for food and accommodation are relatively high. You don’t get to visit the mountain’s base camp, but the trip to Manang and Muktinath makes it worth it. The final visit to Pokhara and relaxing stay in Lakeside also get some brownie points. So, it’s always recommended, especially for newbie trekkers. 

In contrast, the Manaslu Circuit is less frequent and quiet. This is the trek for you if you are looking for solitude and peace. Lu Circuit Trek offers a more authentic Himalayan trek as you see the mountains right from its Manaslu Base Camp. But the journey is relatively arduous, and the accommodation is quite essential. Also, the Himalayan Masters’ Manaslu Circuit trek is cheaper than Annapurna’s.

Now, the choice is yours. 

Whatever you pick, the Himalayan will always be here to help you. Please send us an email with any queries or bookings.

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