Important: The Nepal Tourism Board has passed a law, effective as of April 1st, 2023, prohibiting all solo foreign trekkers from trekking in the Annapurna Region of Nepal. All solo trekkers must hire a registered guide in order to trek in the Annapurna Region.
Manaslu Circuit and Annapurna Circuit are two of Nepal’s best destinations for trekking. If we put Annapurna and Manaslu Circuit Trail side by side, they come in a linear line in terms of natural beauty. While both the trek offers stunning views and challenging terrain, one may be better for you in 2023, depending on your personal preferences and physical abilities. So which hike will be the best choice for you? You can decide by reading this blog.
So, Let’s start.
Table of Content
Introduction to the Manaslu and Annapurna Circuits
Manaslu and Annapurna Circuits are among the best treks in Nepal. Both routes have diverse and attractive scenery. In both treks at higher altitudes, Tibetan culture influences a memorable flavor to the experience that is notably different from other tours in Nepal.
Cradled inside the majestic Manaslu Conservation area, the Manaslu circuit offers the beauty of the Himalayan landscape. The major attraction of this circuit is Mount Manaslu, which stands at a towering height of 8,163 meters/26781 ft – it is the eighth-highest mountain in the world. Despite its impressive stature and challenging terrain, the Mt. Manaslu trek remains relatively undiscovered, attracting only a small number of intrepid travelers each year. This exclusivity lends a sense of solitude and tranquility to the journey, making it a true escape from the crowds and commotion of modern life.
Whether you are an experienced trekker or a beginner seeking a new adventure, the Mt. Manaslu trek promises a truly unforgettable experience in the heart of the Himalayas.
Besides Manaslu Circuit, The Annapurna Circuit trek is another true masterpiece of nature. This circuit trek boasts breathtaking landscapes, ranging from heavenly gorges and high mountain passes to traditional farming villages and revered Buddhist temples. Additionally, trekkers will have the opportunity to witness the grandeur of the Annapurna Massif, a collection of some of the highest peaks in Nepal. All in all, the Annapurna Circuit is a must-do trek for any serious outdoor enthusiast, as it embodies Nepal’s beauty and cultural richness.
Highlights of the Annapurna Circuit Trek
Annapurna Circuit Trek is the trek that starts from Pokhara to Muktinath via Thorang La Pass. The Manang district’s grandeur and Tatopani’s hot springs are some of the appealing destinations in this circuit.
As you hike up to the circuit, you’ll encounter various views, from lush forests to snow-capped peaks, including Annapurna I, II, and III. Similarly, other peaks like Hiunchuli, Thorung Peak, Nilgiri, Chulu West, and Chulu East will make your journey worthwhile.
The Annapurna Circuit Trek caters to hikers of all levels, with the exhilarating climb up Thorong La Pass for the more experienced and the contemplative beauty of the Kali Gandaki Gorge for those looking for a more peaceful experience.
You can delve into the lush Marshyangdi and Kali Gandaki River Valleys, rich with diverse flora and fauna, during your stop. The cultural highlights of the trek, such as the revered Muktinath Temple and the quaint Magar and Gurung villages in Poon Hill and Ghorepani, are some of the other attractions. Jomsom’s windy nature and Tatopani’s hot springs make the Annapurna Circuit Trek an enduring memory. The Annapurna Circuit Trek allows trekkers to marvel at the Annapurna Mountain Peaks, which soar above the earth at an elevation of 8,000 meters/26246 ft.
As a trekker, you will begin your journey from Pokhara or Besi Sahar. You can make your stops at places like Bulbule, Dharapani, Manang, Poonhill, Ghorepani, Thorang La Pass, Jomsom, and Muktinath. Every visit will make your travel awesome.
Highlights of the Manaslu Circuit Trek
Manaslu Circuit trek never comes at the end of the list regarding adventure trekking. The hike starts from Soti Khola, taking you to beautiful places like Maccha Khola, Jagat, Phewa, Numrung, Samdo, and Dharapani.
Keeping all trekking routes aside, the Manaslu Circuit Trek solely puffs many one-of-a-kind features ranging from the natural beauty of the forests, rivers, and flora. You can groom with the local communities of Nepalese & Tibetan ethnic groups that are very affluent in culture and hospitality.
Similarly, you will get through the Larky La Pass (5167 meters/16952ft), the highest point in the circuit. Views of stunning mountains like Manaslu, Himlung, and Annapurna II will add refreshments to your package.
Manaslu Circuit trek was first initiated in 1992, with only a maximum of 400 trekkers allowed. Since then, it has been the destination of thousands of trekkers inside and outside the country.
Annapurna Circuit: “The highest point on the Annapurna Circuit is the Thorong La Pass, ascending to an altitude of 5,416 meters (17,769 feet).”
Manaslu Circuit: The Larkya La Pass on the Manaslu circuit towers above all else, reaching a vertiginous 5,106 meters (16,752 feet).
Annapurna Circuit: The total distance of Annapurna Circuit is 160 and 230 kilometers, which takes you to some of the most beautiful villages and spots around the Annapurna mountain range.
Manaslu Circuit: The Manaslu Circuit is a lengthy journey of 177 kilometers or the equivalent of 110 miles.
Annapurna Circuit: The trek around the Annapurna mountains usually lasts from 12 to 21 days to complete, depending on the speed of the trekker. But several packages come with fewer and even more days of trekking. Besides, you can add up the additional activities during your trek.
Manaslu Circuit: The Manaslu Circuit can be completed in a time frame of 12-18 days, contingent upon the enthusiasm of the trekker.
Timing and Budget Considerations
The Manaslu Circuit Trek is best experienced from September to November or March to May. During these months, the atmospheric conditions are relatively temperate, and the pathways through the wilderness are less packed.
The Annapurna Circuit Trek can be accomplished at any point during the year; however, the prime time for the trek is from September to November and from March to May. During these months, the atmospheric conditions are delightful, and the trails are less populated.
Also read: Annapurna circuit trek weather
A trek to the Manaslu Circuit will usually set you back around $600 to $1,350 per individual. This budget-friendly trekking package allows for personalized modifications to the itinerary and various other aspects to accommodate your needs and timing.
If you are willing to sacrifice some luxurious amenities, you can reduce travel costs by opting for more modest accommodations and seeking local dining options.
While the Annapurna Circuit Tour may not be the most budget-friendly option, the memories, and cultural immersion you will gain make it a worthwhile investment. If you are on a friendly budget, consider splitting the cost of travel with a friend or partner to alleviate some financial burdens. The cost of the journey through the Annapurna circuit amounted to between $700 to $1200.
Also read: Annapurna base camp cost breakdown
Which Circuit is Safer – Manaslu or Annapurna?
Both Manaslu Circuit and Annapurna Circuit treks are considered safe when essayed with a guide and proper planning ahead. However, as with any high-altitude trek, trekkers should take some precautions for their safety.
The Manaslu Circuit trek is less trodden as it is remote and less developed than the Annapurna Circuit trek. Trekkers should be aware that there is no road connection between the Manaslu Circuit and the rest of the country. If you become ill or sustain injuries, evacuation by helicopter may be necessary. So carefully choose your insurance policy that compulsory includes helicopter rescue coverage before the trek.
The Annapurna Circuit trek, on the other hand, is more developed and better connected, making rescue and evacuation easier to organize in case of emergencies. Despite the development, there is still a chance of altitude sickness or other happenings like injuries and all.
Your safety in the trek to Annapurna and Manaslu circuits is in your hand. Because the treks are safe when undertaken with proper planning and preparation and not safe when ventured with inappropriate planning and improper travel insurance. Be aware of all the unique challenges and risks associated with each trek, and take the necessary precautions to ensure your safety.
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So which trek will be best for you in 2023? We cannot categorize it for you since it depends on your choice. It ranges from the selection of destinations to the different beautiful sceneries that you want to delve into. But both Manaslu and Annapurna Circuit treks satisfy you since they come with a wide range of natural perks, people, and culture.