Many trekkers get confused when it comes to choosing between the Manaslu Circuit and Annapurna Circuit Trek. Both treks are being more popular and gaining the attention of trekkers in recent years. Both treks offer majestic mountain views and thrilling trek experiences to their trekkers. So this is the major reason why many trekkers have difficulties while choosing between these treks. However, there are many factors that you need to understand while choosing the best trekking destination for you. Accommodation, difficulty, the reason for the trek, time for the visit, and many more.
Both treks offer you the opportunity to trek on the lap of the Himalayas. So, it is difficult to suggest a trekking destination straight away. However, we will be comparing both of these treks on various topics so that it can be helpful to choose the trek according to your need and desire. There are some similarities among these treks, though, they are unique and attractive in their own way. One similarity of these treks is that you need to have an ACAP permit to visit.
Highlights of Manaslu Circuit Trek
- Majestic views of Mount Manaslu, Himlung Himal, and many other neighboring peaks.
- Less crowded trekking trails with a peaceful trek experience.
- Opportunity to explore the Tibetan and Buddhist culture, tradition, and lifestyle.
- Crossing one of the thrilling parts of this trek – Larkya La Pass.
- Walking through various rural settlements of Tamang and Gurungs.
Highlights of Annapurna Circuit Trek
- Trekking to the holiest temple of Muktinath.
- Visiting the world’s deepest gorge, Kali Gandaki gorge.
- Crossing the thrilling Thorong La Pass which is situated at an altitude of 5416 meters.
- Opportunity to view exotic animals like Musk Deer, Himalayan Tahr, Snow leopard, etc.
- Magical sunrise view from Mountain vista.
Trip Overview of Manaslu Circuit Trek
Manaslu Circuit Trek is an adventurous trek that will take you to the remote villages of Nepal. The highest altitude for this trek is 5213 meters above sea level. Larkya La Pass is a major attraction of this trek as it offers a thrilling experience to the trekkers and also needs physical strength. Or you can say, Larkya La Pass is the most difficult part of this trek. The trails of the Manaslu Circuit trek are less crowded so you can have a peaceful trekking experience on this trek. You can view the eighth highest peak of the world, Manaslu along with other neighboring peaks like Mount Dhaulagiri, Mount Machhapuchhre, etc. On this trek, you will be trekking along the Budhi Gandaki river, through various mountain trails. On the trail, you would be walking uphill and downhill to the forest that is covered with Rhododendron. Overall, Manaslu Circuit Trek offers one of the best trekking experiences that you can have in Nepal.
Trip Overview of Annapurna Circuit Trek
Annapurna Circuit trek is a classic and famous trek with easier, comfortable, and less taxing trails. This trekking trail was opened in 1977 for trekking. The trek is popular among trekkers and adventurers alike. Every year thousands of trekkers visit Nepal for this trek which makes the trail busier in peak season. This trek is also known as the Thorong La trek among the trekkers. It offers a view of the great Himalayas, lush green valleys, and amazing villages. Taking a natural hot water bath is one of the major attractions of this trek. The trek offers a panoramic view of the Annapurna massifs.
Reaching Manaslu Circuit trek
Manaslu is a remote area of Nepal so in order to get there, you need to go through off-road terrains. For the Manaslu trek, Soti Khola is the starting point which is situated at an altitude of 700meters above sea level. It is located 140km away from Kathmandu so you can take a 6 hours jeep right from Kathmandu to reach Soti Khola. You might have to take an off-road route to Soti Khola. After spending a night in Soti Khola, you will be trekking from there to Manchha Khola which is at an altitude of 930. During this trek, you will be passing through various villages like Jagat, Deng, Namrung, Samagau, and many more. Similarly, you will be trekking on narrow trails, climbing many uphills and downhills, and crossing different high passes.
Reaching Annapurna Circuit Trek
Pokhara is a starting point for the Annapurna Circuit trek. Pokhara, commonly known as Lake city is a tourist hub itself. You can take a flight from Tribhuvan International Airport or you can get a bus ticket as a cheap alternative to reach Pokhara. The flight takes about 30 min and then you have to drive to Besisahar which is about 107 km away from Pokhara. But if you take a bus from Kathmandu then you can directly go to Besisahar which takes about 7 hours. There is a facility to drive to Manang but we highly recommend to trek in this region for the majestic landscape. During this trek, you will be trekking through various villages like Dharapani, Pisang, Manang, Chame, and many more.
The Difficulty of Manaslu Circuit Trek
Manaslu Circuit Trek is comparatively a more difficult trek than the Annapurna Circuit Trek. This trek required more physical as well as mental fitness to complete. Larkya La Pass is the most difficult part of this trek. The trails are almost off-beaten and not well maintained so the trekkers might find it difficult to walk on the trail. This trek covers a distance of 177 km from the starting point of the trek to the ending point. The region has a wide variety of terrain, so most trekkers feel to trek in odd-shaped terrains. You might find the first day of the trek a tough day as you will be leading to Budhi Gandaki gorge while climbing uphill. Similarly, the day crossing Larkya La Pass is also difficult because of the altitude and the trails that lead to Larkya La.
The difficulty of Annapurna Circuit Trek
Annapurna Circuit trek is not so difficult or moderate in difficulty. This trek encircles the whole Annapurna mountain so it takes a long time. The duration of this trek varies from 14 to 22 days. There are different packages for this trek. Duration is a major factor to determine the difficulty level of this trek. The trail of this trek is well maintained and easy. To complete this trek in time you need to be walking for 6 to 8 hours a day. Crossing Thorong La Pass can be a bit difficult where you need to get up early about 4 am to complete the cross and reach the Mustang of Nepal.
Accommodation of Manaslu Circuit Trek
Compared to Annapurna Circuit, the Manaslu trek has fewer options for accommodation facilities as the trail for this trek was opened later. Most of the tea houses and lodges in the Manaslu region offer basic accommodation facilities. Because of the limited number of tea houses and lodges, the cost of accommodation can be a bit high during the peak season due to more visitors. Since this trek lies in a remote area of Nepal, it is difficult to provide a comfortable bed to every trekker. Similarly, in this trek, you might not have the facilities of hot showers, wifi, attached bathroom, etc but you will have the basic accommodation facilities throughout the trek. Due to the increasing popularity of this trek, the new teahouses and lodges are being opened with more facilities every year.
Accommodation of Annapurna Circuit Trek
Annapurna region offers numerous tea houses and lodges with various facilities throughout the trek. You will find teahouses and lodges throughout the trek therefore you don’t have to do camping on this trek. The rooms in the Annapurna region are well maintained and you can also have your own private rooms. The rooms and bathrooms are clean and hygienic and they provide a better room with pillows and blankets. But the facilities depend upon the teahouses and lodges mostly and the price you pay for the room. Similarly, hot showers are available in almost every part of the trekking trails but private bathrooms are only available in the teahouses and lodges of lower altitudes. For wifi and charging facilities you have to pay a certain amount. If you are trekking in the peak season of trekking then book the accommodation in advance as there are fewer teahouses and lodges at higher altitudes.
Nepal is famous for its incredible trekking destinations. It has various trails and trekking destinations. Manaslu Circuit Trek and Annapurna Circuit trek are some of the best and most popular trekking destinations in Nepal. Every year thousands of trekkers travel to Nepal for a life-changing trekking experience. Both trekking destinations have their unique feathers and offer an amazing experience to their trekkers. They are both beautiful and challenging in their own way. So while choosing the right destination for you you need to be careful about your budget, physical health, expectations, and many more. Planning for the trek is a major factor in choosing the right destination for you. Whichever trekking destination you choose, you will have an unforgettable experience in the Himalayas of Nepal.