Manaslu Circuit Trek vs Annapurna Circuit Trek

  • Jun 4, 2024
  • Marvel Adventure
  • 1721

Manaslu circuit trek and Annapurna circuit trek are both popular destinations in northern Nepal. Manaslu circuit trek is a trek to the off-beaten trails of the northern Tibetan settlement of Nepal. On the other hand, the Annapurna circuit trek is a trek around the Annapurna massif. A Manalsu circuit trek vs Annapurna circuit trek comparison is always talked about by trekkers in Nepal.

The Manaslu circuit trek takes you to popular destinations like the Larkey la Pass. You will visit various Buddhist settlement hamlets during the trek. The trek requires you to walk for around 13 to 18 days for completion. The Manaslu circuit trek will start from Kathmandu with a drive to Soti Khola via Arughat. A drive back to Kathmandu from Dharapani will mark the trek’s end.

Photo: Manaslu Circuit

manaslu circuit

On the other hand, the Annapurna circuit trek is a trek of the Annapurna region. The trek also takes you to the northern Tibetan borders of Nepal. Muktinath and Thorong La pass are among the famous destinations of this trek. It might take anywhere from 10 to 18 days to complete your Annapurna circuit trek

Both Manaslu circuit trek and Annapurna circuit trek come with different variations. The routes and itinerary determines the overall trip days and transportation. Here, we will give you an idea of a generalized trek of these places to help you pick the best trek suited for you.

Table of Contents

We will take you through the differences and similarities of these treks in detail. Analyzing these different as well as similar features of these treks, you can decide the winner of the Manaslu circuit trek vs Annapurna circuit trek.

Differences in the trek

Highlights of Manaslu Circuit trek vs Annapurna Circuit trek

Highlights of Manaslu circuit trek

  • Mesmerizing vistas during the drive from Kathmandu to Soti Khola
  • Crossing one of the most daring passes of Larkya La Pass at 5106 meters
  • Experiencing the local Hindu and Buddhist culture
  • Trekking through the Budhi Gandaki River gorge
  • The enchanting floras and faunas of the Annapurna region
  • The rich biodiversity and amazing natural landscapes
  • Views of peaks that include- The Manaslu peak, Lamjung Himal, Annapurna II, etc
  • A chance to observe rare and endangered species like the snow leopard.

Highlights of Annapurna circuit trek

  • A visit to the beautiful settlement of Manang
  • Visit the sacred temple of Muktinath
  • Views of beautiful lakes, glaciers, waterfalls, and deep river gorges
  • The natural hot spring of Tatopani
  • The mesmerizing headquarter of Mustang- Jomsom
  • Enchanting vistas of various mountains like- Annapurna, Thorong Peak, Chulu west and east, Dhaulagiri, Lamjung Himal, Annapurna II and IV, etc.
  • Pass by the highest settlement area’s yak pastures
  • Cross the rough Thorong La pass at the height of 5416 meters.
  • The largest monastery of Manang- Barge monastery
  • Poon Hill viewpoint.

Photo: Annapurna Circuit

annapurna circuit

Package Cost and days of the Manaslu Circuit trek vs Annapurna Circuit trek

Manaslu circuit trek

The Manaslu circuit trek takes anywhere from 13 to 18 days to complete. If you are to do this trek, it will cost you USD 1200 TO USD 2000.

Annapurna circuit trek

The Annapurna circuit trek takes 10 to 18 days to complete. It will cost you around USD 1100 to USD 1800 to complete.

General route

Manaslu circuit trek

The Manaslu circuit trek begins with a swift drive from Kathmandu to Soti Khola. You trek to Machha Khola and then take an ascent for the most part of the trip. It includes passing through steamy lowlands with rice and millet in terraces. You should also pass the Budi Gandaki gorge and many suspension bridges.

The ascent will include passing from Jagat-Pewa-Namrung-Lho-Samagaon. Samagaon is an acclimatization spot for the Manaslu circuit trek. Further from Samagon, you will trek to Samdo and to Dharmashala, the base of Larkya peak. You ought to cross the Larkya La Pass to reach the next destination of Bimthang. The journey towards Bimthang will start, including the descents of the travel. You will have to trek to Dharapani from Bhimthang and then drive back to Kathmandu.

Annapurna circuit trek

The Annapurna circuit trek will start from Kathmandu and end back at Pokhara. It starts with traveling to Besisahar by vehicle. Passing Marsyandi river and Kali Gandaki gorge, you will reach Chame. From Chame, you will trek the Annapurna region through an anticlockwise route.

The trek will begin with an ascent towards Pisang-Manang-Yak Kharka via subtropical forests. The trail will go higher from Yak Kharka as you approach the Thorong La High Camp. You have to reach the Thorong Phedi now and then cross the Thorong La Pass. Crossing the Thorong La pass will lead you to Muktinath. 

After visiting Muktinath, we will reach Jomsom via Kagbeni; Jomsom is the headquarter of Mustang. From Jomsom, you will drive to Tatopani and trek towards Ghorepani-Poonhill. Then the road takes you on a descent through Tikhedhunga and to Nayapul. Your trek will end with a drive to Pokhara from Nayapul.

Highest points of Manaslu Circuit trek vs Annapurna Circuit trek

Manaslu circuit trek

Larkya La pass

At 5106 meters above sea level, Larkya La is the highest point of the Manaslu circuit trek. Crossing the Larkya La pass will be the best part of the trek. It allows you to see the best vistas of the Annapurna as well as the Manaslu range. However, crossing the pass is quite a difficult part of the trek; hence, you need to acclimatize before crossing Larkya La Pass.

Annapurna circuit trek

Thorong La pass

Thorong La is a mountain pass in the Damodar Himal that is 5,416 meters above sea level. It is the highest point of the Annapurna circuit trek. The hike of Thorong La pass will give you amazing vistas of the Annapurna Massif, Mount Dhaulagiri, Mount Machhapuchhre, Mount Manaslu, Mount Gangapurna, and Tilicho Peak. Like Larkya la pass, crossing the Thoron La Pass is the hardest part of Annapurna circuit trek.

Permits needed for Manaslu Circuit trek vs Annapurna Circuit trek

Manaslu circuit trek

The Manaslu circuit trek will require three different types of permits. They are the Manaslu restricted area permit, the Manaslu conversation area permit, and the Annapurna conservation area permit.

The Manaslu restricted area permit cost of this permit goes in the following order:

September to November- The first seven days will cost USD 100 per person. You will have to pay USD 15 per person for the additional days.

December to August - The first seven days will cost USD 75 per person. You will have to pay USD 10 per person for the additional days.

(MCAP) Manaslu Conservation Area Permit costs USD 30 per person. Additionally, there are no restrictions or price changes based on how many days you spend inside MCAP.

Annapurna Conservation Area permits (ACAP) also cost SD 30 per person. 

Annapurna circuit trek

The Annapurna circuit trek requires the Annapurna Conservation Area permit (ACAP) and TIMS (Trekking information management system card). The Nepali districts of Manang, Myagdi, Lamjung, and Mustang are home to the Annapurna Conservation Area. Since the Annapurna Circuit trek passes these conserved areas, you ought to have them.

The fee for this (ACAP) permit is USD 30 per person. Furthermore, no limitations or price variations are determined by how many days you spend inside ACAP.

Similarly, Another is a TIMS card which costs around $17 (NPR 2,000). The TIMS permits card are granted to tourists for their protection while trekking around Nepal. TIMS cards will be registered at various checkpoints along the trails. 

People and culture of the region

Manaslu circuit trek

The trail leading to the Manaslu route starts with local Chettri, Brahmin, and Magar settlements. The three main ethnic groups in the upper region are Tibeto-Burmans, Indo-Aryans from the south, and Mongoloids from the north. Additionally, the further trek of Tsum valley would show you settlements of the Nubri and the Tsum.

You will find varying cultures here, including Hindus in the hilly region and Buddhists on the Tibetan side. Various languages are spoken here, including Nepali and other Sino-Tibetan languages. Some examples are Nepali, Nepal Bhasa, the Nubri, and Tsum languages.

Annapurna circuit trek

The two main ethnic groups in the region are Gurung and Magar. They also have a Thakali population, with Loba dominating in the north. There are also a few Brahmin, Chhetri, and other occupational castes. Each of these groups has a distinctive dialect in addition to a unique culture and set of traditions. The majority religion in the area is a blend of all Hindu, Buddhist, and pre-Buddhist practices.

Annapurna Circuit

Similarities of the treks

Manaslu circuit trek and Annapurna circuit trek might have myriad differences based on the route, location, landmarks, natural structures, ethnic groups, etc. However, they also share many similarities. The popular high-altitude treks of a relatively closer region are bound to be somewhat similar. These similarities are mostly based on the dangers of the trek, seasonal suitability, etc.

Dangers of the trek

  • Both these treks require ascending towards a high-altitude destination. Altitude sickness risks are likely to accompany such high-altitude travel. While spending such a long time at such high altitudes, acclimatization is crucial to avoid altitude sickness. You should descend to a lower altitude if you begin to experience symptoms of altitude sickness.
  • Long high altitude passes are found on these treks' highest points. There is avalanche risk in both of the passes. Avalanches frequently occur at the Thorong La high pass and Larkay La pass. A snow blockage or avalanche is guaranteed if it snows in this area. So be mindful of the weather if you're passing through these passes. Follow the weather predictions.
  • It can be exhausting to travel through such far-off trails for such a long time. Foot injuries and walking inconveniences could result from it. Pack very comfortable travel attire to help offset this. To ensure your safety, travel with guides and porters. The fatigue brought on by your heavy luggage is lessened with the aid of porters. You can learn about geography, history, culture, and a wealth of other academic details from experienced guides.
  • These treks could be challenging if planned for the winter or monsoon season. The trails become rough, and rain and snowfall will make things very difficult. To avoid a challenging road and make it more convenient, travel when favorable weather is favorable. It will also allow you to travel in a more picturesque way.

Suitable time to trek

spring and autumn are the best time to trek the Manaslu and Annapurna region. The weather is temperate and dry with clear blue skies. It makes trekking very enjoyable and gives you clear vistas of nearby landscapes. The busiest trekking seasons in Nepal are also spring and fall. As a result, these times of year are also ideal for the Manaslu and Annapurna circuit trek. There are the best times to choose, even in the months of spring and autumn. For these treks, mid-spring and mid-autumn offer the best conditions.

On the other hand, the winter and summer months which bring snowfalls and monsoons, are the off-season trekking time and not recommended. Such seasons bring in very unfavorable weather for trekking. Monsoon brings floods and landslides and destructed slippery trails. Similarly, snowfall brings chances of avalanches and health hazards like hypoxia. The extremely high or low temperatures of these seasons also bring in other health hazards.

Which trek to choose?

The Manaslu circuit trek and Annapurna circuit trek are very similar despite having different destinations. Both show you vistas of similar landforms and take you to similar settlement areas. The cost, trekking days, and routes are the variables you need to factor in to decide which is suitable for you.

Both treks are equally adventurous and give you the best Nepali trekking experience. Choosing which trek to do is yours. The detailed idea we have given you about these two treks will definitely help you.

Contact us if you need more details to choose the trek.

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