BlogComparing Between Manaslu circuit trek and Annapurna circuit trek


15 Jun 2019 snowpath

Comparing between Manaslu circuit trek and Annapurna circuit trek will definitely provide actual insight to trekker in circuit (round) trekking of Nepal. Needless to say, Annapurna circuit trekking paves the trekking path around Annapurna mountain(8091m) ranges in Annapurna trekking region. Obviously with many other peaks and mountains. While Manaslu circuit trek circles the Mount Manaslu(8163m) along with other peaks in Manaslu trekking region. Two different circuits (round) trekking with different tastes and flavors for trekkers in terms of landscape, eco-system, cultural and natural heritage.

Annapurna circuit trek holds back long and traditional legacy in trekking of Nepal. A well-known trekking path. While Manaslu circuit trek came in light few decades back, but with a bang. The trekking is gaining exceptional popularity. Comparing between Manaslu circuit trek and Annapurna circuit trek is easy due to some distinguishable characters. However, suggesting trekker as a trek organizer is not an easy thing to do. We believe a comparison between Manaslu circuit trek and Annapurna circuit trek might help trekker to choose the circuit (round) trekking of Nepal by themselves.

Here we provide the similarities and dissimilarities of both the trekking.

1. Popularity

While comparing between Manaslu circuit trek and Annapurna circuit trek in terms of popularity, the Classic Annapurna circuit of 21 days is one of the oldest trekking routes in Nepal. Pioneer for starting a tourism business in Nepal. So, it is extremely popular among the trekker. As an organizer, we certainly believe most of the trekker has extensive information on Annapurna circuit trek.

Manaslu Circuit trek came in the radar among the trekker only decade back. However, the pace of popularity is increasing day by day among the trekkers. As an organizer, it is nice to address the curiosity of Manaslu circuit trek for new as well experienced trekkers.

2. Itinerary

Annapurna circuit trek has highly flexible trekking itinerary due to the construction of road. Currently, it is really confusing matter to suggest a trekker, from where to start a trek. Generally, there is classic trekking route from Besisahar with 21 days itinerary. But now, trekker can start anywhere they desire keeping Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) in mind. We suggest minimum 13 days trekking itinerary for Annapurna Circuit trek.

Manaslu circuit trek generally starts at Arughat or Sotikhola that Joins at Dharapani, a junction of Annapurna Circuit trek and Manaslu Circuit trek. From Dharapani a trekker has road option to drive. Either can ride a jeep or continue trek to Syange. Without riding jeep from Dharapani trekker can complete Manaslu circuit trek in 18 days.

Note: We will provide standard itinerary once you let us how many days you are planning to trek in either trekking region.

3. Trekking Permits

For Annapurna circuit trek, trekker needs to purchase Annapurna Conservation Area Permit (ACAP) and Trekker’s Information Management System (TIMS) card.

For Manaslu circuit trek, trekker needs to purchase Manaslu Conservation Area Permit (MCAP) and Annapurna Conservation Area Permit (ACAP). Plus, Trekker’s Information Management System (TIMS) card. Most importantly, restricted area permit (special permit) issued by the Department of Immigration of Nepal.

Note: Trekker alone cannot issue the restricted area permit. Hiring a trekking agency in Nepal is compulsory. As well, hiring trekking guide is also mandatory. Minimum two trekkers are necessary to issue the restricted area permit.

4. Transportation

During Annapurna circuit trek, trekker drives to Besisahar from Kathmandu in asphalt road. From Besisahar, trekker can either drive in off-road or start trek. Trekker can choose any point to start trek in between Besisahar and Chame. Starting beyond Chame, ultimately increases the risk of Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). Upon crossing Thorong-La and reaching Muktinath the trek re-join off-road drive on other side of Kaligandaki valley particularly at Muktinath. Those with limited time are recommended to fly out from Jomsom to Pokhara. From Pokhara trekker can choose numerous modes of transportation depending upon budget.

In similar fashion for Manaslu circuit trek, trekker drives to either Arughat or Sotikhola from Kathmandu. After reaching Dharapani crossing Larkey- La pass, trekker can ride a jeep or continue to trek to Syange/ Besisahar. From Besisahar can either ride a local bus or private car to Kathmandu. Comparing between Manaslu circuit trek and Annapurna circuit trek, Annapurna trekking is highly feasible and rich in terms of transportation after construction of road in both Marshyangdi and Kaligandaki valley.

5. Difficulty Level

Since, Manaslu circuit trek was relatively new in trekking market, it used to be considered difficult than Annapurna Circuit trek. Moreover, in past trekker had to do camping trekking due to lack of tea houses in Manaslu region. But the scenario has changed after new and comfortable tea houses are introduced in Manaslu trekking region. Both trekking has high altitude pass. Thorong-La pass (5416m) is the highest altitude trekker gains during Annapurna circuit trek. Larkey-La pass (5106m) is the highest altitude in Manaslu circuit trek. However, Annapurna circuit trek is luxurious comparing Manaslu circuit trek in terms of facilities. Comparing between Manaslu circuit trek and Annapurna circuit trek in terms of difficulty, Manaslu is slightly difficult.

6. Major trekking Highlights

In Annapurna circuit trek, Mount Annapurna (8091m) is the main theme of trekking. In Manaslu circuit trek Mount Manaslu (8163m) is the main highlight of trekking. Gurung, Thakali, Manangi are the main inhabitant of Annapurna circuit trek following Buddhism. Nubri and Tsum people confined only in Manaslu trekking region, following typical Buddhism is the cultural highlight of trekking. One can see the raw culture and tradition of people in Manaslu circuit trek because of rear contact with the outside world. Plus, trekker has the option to explore Manaslu Base Camp in same trekking itinerary. In contrast, a trekker cannot trek to Annapurna Base Camp during Annapurna Circuit. Possible but, requires a huge number of extra days to complete Annapurna circuit trek and Annapurna Base Camp trek in same trekking itinerary.

Both trekking being, the round trekking has similar kind of landscapes. Both trekking has tropical, sub-tropical, lower-temperate, upper-temperate, sub-alpine, alpine and snowline climatic zone. However, during Annapurna circuit trek, trekker can enjoy the section of Trans-Himalaya climatic zone as well, from Muktinath to Marpha.

7. Optional possibility of adding other trekking itineraries.

During Annapurna Circuit trek, trekker can trek around Nar Phu valley with Kang-La pass that branches off from Koto and joins back to Manang. But again, Nar Phu valley is remote trekking and Kang-La pass is difficult pass for general trekker. Trekking to Tilicho lake from Manang that joins at Yak Kharka is another possibility.

Trekking to Tsum valley is another option for trekkers in Manaslu circuit trek. Once, properly acclimatized, trekker, can continue to any section of Annapurna Circuit trek driving in jeep from Dharapani instead of descending down to Besisahar. Again, comparing between Manaslu circuit trek and Annapurna circuit trek in terms of a side trip, Annapurna circuit trek is more flexible with lots of options to trek around the region.

8. Price and cost

Comparing between Manaslu circuit trek and Annapurna circuit trek in terms of price and cost, being remote, it is not unusual that Manaslu Circuit trek is slightly expensive. Plus, extra trekking permit fees in Manaslu circuit trek is something trekker needs to consider.

Again, comparing between Manaslu circuit trek and Annapurna circuit trek is not difficult itself, due to the specific character of each trekking. However, giving a suggestion is difficult. If a trekker has completed Annapurna Circuit trek, it is highly recommended to make Manaslu circuit trek next target in Nepal. Trekker definitely won’t regret choosing Manaslu circuit trek over Annapurna circuit trek.