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Annapurna Circuit Trek vs Manaslu Trek

28 Jan 2024 Himalaya Trip

Annapurna Circuit Trek vs Manaslu Trek article help you to choose the right trek. Annapurna Circuit and Manaslu Treks in Nepal offer distinct experiences to the trekkers. Both treks have some uniqueness and some similarities and can be completed in 10-12 days. These treks are classified as moderate to hard for trekkers as they require traversing the high passes above 5,000m. The off-beat trek in the remote region offering unspoiled nature is the major highlight of the Manaslu trek. The main attraction of the Annapurna Circuit Trek is the possibility of trekking in the monsoon seasons due to its feature of rain-shadow areas in most parts. To shed light more precisely, Himalaya Trip presents ‘Annapurna Circuit Trek vs Manaslu Trek’ so that travelers can decide which trek is best for them.

About Annapurna Circuit Trek

  • Treasured by many trekkers as one of the best treks in Nepal.
  • Go around the outskirts of gigantic Annapurna massifs during the trek.
  • Walk past the Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) that connects two Himalayan districts: Manang and Mustang.
  • Traverse the highest point of Annapurna Circuit Trek i.e. Thorang La Pass (5,416m).
  • Encounter a blend of history, culture, biodiversity, geology, flora and fauna, and water bodies during this trek.
  • Excursion to numerous Ancient Buddhist Monasteries and Managi Gurung, Thakali, Bhotia people life style.
  • Most of this trail comes under a rain-shadow area which makes it possible to trek during Monsoon seasons.
  • Impressive views of Annapurna II, III, IV, Gangapurna, Glacier Dom, Dhaulagiri range, Manaslu Range, Nilgiri, Tilicho, Chulu, Thorong, Pisang Peak, and many more.

About Manaslu Trek

  • Manaslu Trek represents the natural amusements of western Nepal.
  • Less crowded and less explored treks in the remote Manaslu region.
  • An off-beat trek offering an unspoiled nature trek experience to the trekkers.
  • Witness the Annapurna massifs to the west and Langtang ranges to the east.
  • Cross the highest point Larkya La Pass (5,106m) during this trek.
  • Traverse through narrow alleyways cut by Budhi Gandaki River with stunning snow-covered mountains in the backdrop.
  • Visit Tibetan-style Buddhist villages, and walk past protected wildlife and wildflowers in the vicinity of the Manaslu Conservation Area.
  • Interact with Gurung, Nubri people, and other tribes and engross in their styles, cultures, festivals, etc. for a deep understanding.
  • Spectacular views of Manaslu, Larkya Peak, Kang Guru, Annapurna II, Ganesh Himal, Ngadi Chuli, Himlung Himal, Boudha Himal, and others.

Annapurna Circuit vs Manaslu Trek in Chart

FeaturesAnnapurna Circuit TrekManaslu Trek
Highest elevation5,416 m (Thorong La Pass)5,106 m (Larkya La Pass)
PopularityVery popularPopular for its off-beat trek
PermitsACAP and TIMSMCAP, Manaslu RAP, ACAP, and TIMS
Best Time(Mar-Nov) months(Mar-May) and (Sep-Nov) months
Himalaya viewsLamjung Himal, Annapurna II, III, IV, Gangapurna, Tilicho Peak, Pisang Peak, Thorong Peak, Dhaulagiri, Tukuche, Nilgiri, etc.Manaslu, Larkya Peak, Kang Guru, Annapurna II, Ganesh Himal ,Ngadi Chuli, Himlung Himal, Boudha Himal, etc.
Extended Side TripsTilicho Lake or Poon Hill TrekKalchumman Tal at Prok or Tsum Valley Trek
Accommodation, FoodBetter facilitiesLimited facilities
Duration10 days12 days
Distance82 km or 50.95 miles132 km or 82 miles
Difficulty LevelModerate to HardModerate to Hard
Price (per person)USD 625 to USD 675USD 749 to USD849
Annapurna Circuit vs Manaslu Trek

Features of Annapurna Circuit and Manaslu Treks

Highest elevation

The highest elevation during the Annapurna Circuit Trek is 5,416m (Thorong La Pass) and the Manaslu Trek is 5,106m (Larkya La Pass) which is achievable for trekkers with physical fitness, previous trekking experience, and proper planning and preparation.

Popularity

Annapurna Circuit Trek is very popular compared to Manaslu Trek and is termed the best trekking destination by trekkers. Since most parts of the Annapurna Circuit Trek fall under rain-shadow areas, this trek is also possible to do during the monsoon season. On the other hand, Manaslu is an off-beat trek that is remote in nature. For trekkers seeking less crowded, less explored routes, and unspoiled nature the Manaslu trek is the perfect option.

Trekking Permit

Annapurna Circuit Trek and Manaslu Circuit Trek require compulsory permits to trek and the necessary permits with their costs are as follows:

Annapurna Circuit Trek

ACAP and TIMS permits are essential for the Annapurna Circuit Trek.

  1. ACAP (Annapurna Conservation Area Project)

USD 30 per person (Foreigners)

NPR 1000 per person (SAARC nationals)

  • TIMS (Trekkers’ Information Management System)

NPR 2000 per person (Foreigners)

NPR 1000 per person (SAARC nationals)

Manaslu Circuit Trek

MRAP, MCAP, ACAP, and TIMS permits are essential for the Manaslu Trek.

  1. MRAP (Manaslu Restricted Area Permit)

Last of December to the End of August:

For the first week of trekking: USD 75 per person

8th day afterward: USD 10 per day

First of September to the End of November:

For the first week of trekking: USD 100 per person

8th day afterward: USD 15 per day

Note: We need your original passport for the Manaslu restricted area permit and it takes a day.

  • MCAP (Manaslu Conservation Area Permit)

USD 30 per person (Foreigners)

NPR 1000 per person (SAARC nationals)

  • ACAP (Annapurna Conservation Area Project)

USD 30 per person (Foreigners)

NPR 1000 per person (SAARC nationals)

  • TIMS (Trekkers’ Information Management System)

NPR 2000 per person (Foreigners)

NPR 1000 per person (SAARC nationals)

Best time

The best time for the Manaslu trek is between the months of March-May which is the Spring season and September-November which is the Autumn season in Nepal. The best time for the Annapurna Circuit trek is between the months of March to November. It covers the Spring, Monsoon, and Autumn seasons in Nepal. Spring and autumn seasons are perfect for both Annapurna Circuit and Manaslu Treks in Nepal as the weather is predictable and the views are clear and bright. Most parts of Annapurna Circuit Trek come under a rain-shadow area which makes it preferable to trek during monsoons as well.

Himalaya Views

Annapurna Circuit Trek amuses trekkers with the outstanding views of Lamjung Himal, Annapurna II, III, IV, Gangapurna, Tilicho Peak, Pisang Peak, Thorong Peak, Dhaulagiri, Tukuche, Nilgiri, etc.

Manaslu Trek is also no less than the Annapurna Circuit trek in captivating trekkers with breathtaking mountain vistas such as Manaslu (8,163m), Larkya Peak (6,249m), Kang Guru, Annapurna II, Ganesh Himal, Ngadi Chuli (7,879m), Himlung Himal (7,126m) Boudha Himal (6,672m), and others.

Extended Side Trips

Both Annapurna Circuit Trek and Manaslu Trek can get more exciting and adventurous if travelers wish to extend the side trips during these treks. Tilicho Lake and Poon Hill are ideal destinations for Annapurna Circuit Trek whereas Kalchhuman Tal at Prok and Tsum Valley Trek are recommended destinations for Manaslu Trek.

Accommodation and foods

The accommodation and food during the Annapurna Circuit Trek are slightly better as compared to the Manaslu Trek. Manaslu is a remote region and most people follow Buddhism here so, the food options are mostly limited to vegetarian.  Also, the accommodations are basic with limited facilities.

Duration of trek

Annapurna Circuit Trek can be completed in 10 days while Manaslu Trek can be completed in 12 days respectively with our proposed standard itinerary appropriate for the trekkers.

Trek Distance in KM or Miles

The total trekking distance beginning from Dharapani and ending at Muktinath is 82 km or 52.95 miles for the Annapurna Circuit Trek. For the Manaslu Trek, the total trekking distance beginning from Machhakhola and ending at Tilije is 132km or 82 miles.

Difficulty

Both Annapurna Circuit Trek and Manaslu Trek can be considered moderate to hard in terms of difficulty. Both treks demand traversing high passes above 5,000m which creates a risk of gaining altitude sickness. Besides this, the rugged trails, rocky terrain, multiple ascends and descends, basic accommodation with limited facilities at higher altitudes, and longer walking hours can be very demanding for the trekkers. We recommend getting into a fitness regimen at least a month before your trek for a successful accomplishment of the trek.

Price of the Trek

The Annapurna Circuit trek costs USD 625 to USD 675 per person for a standard 10-day while the Manaslu trek costs USD 749 to USD 849 per person for a standard 12-day trek which is reasonable.

Itinerary and Map

Annapurna Circuit Trek Itinerary and Map

Annapurna Circuit Trek Map
Annapurna Circuit Trek Map

Day 01: Drive Kathmandu – Besisahar – Dharapani

Day 02: Trek Dharapani – Chame

Day 03: Trek Chame – Pisang

Day 04: Trek Pisang – Gyaru – Ngawal – Manang

Day 05: Rest day in Manang

Day 06: Trek Manang – Yak Kharka – Chauri Lader

Day 07: Trek Yak Kharka – Chauri Lader – Thorong Phedi or High Camp

Day 08: Trek Thorong Phedi or High camp – One of the hardest days and highest altitude Thorong La Pass 5416m – Muktinath

Day 09: Drive Muktinath – Jomsom – Tatopani – Pokhara

Day 10: Drive Pokhara – Kathmandu

Annapurna Circuit Trek Video

Annapurna Circuit Thorong La Pass

Manaslu Trek Itinerary and Map

manaslu trek map
manaslu trek map

Day 01: Drive Kathmandu to Machhakhola (869m, 145km or 9-10 hours’ drive)

Day 02: Trek Machhakhola – Jagat (1340m, 17km or 7 hours walk)

Day 03: Trek Jagat – Deng (1860m, 20km or 6-7 hours walk)

Day 04: Trek Deng – Namrung (2630m, 17km or 6-7 hours walk)

Day 05: Trek Namrung – Samagoan (3620m, 17km or 6-7 hours walk)

Day 06: Rest day

Day 07: Trek Samagoan – Samdo (3875m, 8km or 3 -4 hours walk)

Day 08: Trek Samdo – Dharmasala (4460m, 6km or 4-5 hours walk)

Day 09: Trek Dharmasala – The highest point Larkya La Pass (5106m) – Bhimthang (3590m, 22km or 8-9 hours walk)

Day 10: Trek Bhimthang – Tilche (2515m, 25km or 6-7 hours walk)

Day 11: Drive Tilche – Dharapani – Beshisahar (760m, 50km or 5-6 hours’ drive)

Day 12: Drive from Beshisahar – Kathmandu (175km, 6-7 hours’ drive).

Manaslu Trek Video

Conclusion

Annapurna Circuit trek in the Annapurna region and Manaslu trek in the Manaslu region treat trekkers with diverse experiences in terms of remoteness, food, and accommodation. It also shares similarities with its high passes, spectacular landscapes, breathtakingly snow-covered mountain vistas, local natives’ culture, and lifestyle, and rugged trails with multiple ups and downs. Annapurna Circuit trek duration is shorter compared to the Manaslu Trek. Annapurna Circuit Trek is a widely popular trek and mostly crowded while Manaslu Trek is a remote trek providing off-beat trekking experiences. Overall, both treks are fascinating, and as per their preferences, trekkers can decide on these treks to witness cultural and natural richness at their best.

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