Manaslu Circuit Trek vs Annapurna Circuit Trek

2023-02-10 | Published By: Bold Himalaya

Manaslu Circuit Trek

The Manaslu Circuit Journey is one of the best high passes treks in Nepal that circuits Mount Manaslu, the eighth-highest summit in the world. Along with the opportunity to observe rare, highly influenced Tibetan culture, stunning landscapes, and endangered wildlife like the snow leopard and blue sheep, the journey offers a combination of stunning landscapes, traditional towns, and cultural activities.

A permit from the Nepalese government is necessary for this distant journey, which also calls for a high level of physical preparedness. This trek is less popular and off the main path than the Annapurna Circuit Trekking.

Annapurna Circuit Trek

The Annapurna massif, which contains numerous peaks above 7,000 meters including Annapurna I (8,091 meters), the tenth-highest mountain in the world, is circled by the renowned Annapurna Circuit Trek in the Nepalese Himalayas. There are subtropical forests, alpine meadows, glacier oligotrophic lakes, high-altitude deserts, traditional villages, and temples along the journey's route. The trek provides stunning views of the Himalayas, including Annapurna, Dhaulagiri, and Manaslu. 

Manaslu Circuit Trek vs Annapurna Circuit Trek | Comparison | Which is  Difficult

Manaslu Circuit Trek vs Annapurna Circuit Trek

Manaslu Circuit Trek

Annapurna Circuit Trek

Maximum elevation

5,100 meters (16,732 feet) at Larkey La Pass

5,416 meters (17,769 feet) Thorong La Pass

Major Attractions

Mount Manaslu, Larkya La Pass, Samagaon: Traditional Tibetan style villages, Ancient Monastery, Birendra Lake, Diverse landscapes, Tsum Valley (if include trek Tsum Valley as well)

(Annapurna and Manaslu Himalaya Ranges)

Most Diverse Landscape, Scenic Trekking Route Thorong La Pass, Muktinath (Hindu and Buddhist Pilgrimage site), Glacier lakes (Tilicho, Gangapurna, and Ice Lake Lake), Jomsom, Manang

(Annapurna and Dhaulagiri Himalaya ranges)


A Restricted Area Permit, Manaslu Conservation Area Permit, and a TIMS card

TIMS (Trekkers' Information Management System) and ACAP (Annapurna Conservation Area Permit)

Total days / Itinerary 

8-16 days

9-17 days

Things to see on the trek

you will see beautiful landscapes, including lush forests, mountain streams, and terraced fields, as well as traditional villages and monasteries like Sama gompa, Rachen gompa, sho gompa, Lho gompa

you can expect to see diverse landscapes and terrains, including lush forests, and rocky terrain, mountain ranges, traditional villages, and glaciers, rivers, waterfalls, Hindu and Buddhist temples, and monasteries.

Difficulty Grade of the Trek

Manaslu Circuit Trek is considered a moderately to difficult grade trek of Nepal

The Annapurna Circuit Trek is considered a moderate to Difficult grade trek, due to the high elevation and the distance covered.

Total distance

180-190 km depending in Starting and Ending point

160-230 km Depending i Star and Ending points

Side expandable trekking routes

Annapurna Circuit trek, Tsum Valley trek

Tilicho Lake Trek, Nar Phu Valley Trek, Upper Mustang Trek

Risk of altitude sickness

Due to the high altitude of the Manaslu Circuit Trek, trekkers may experience altitude sickness if not properly acclimatization. Headache, nausea, exhaustion, shortness of breath, appetite loss, sleeplessness, dizziness, and facial, hand, and foot edema are just a few of its symptoms.
Proper acclimatization is crucial for this trek.

The Annapurna Circuit Trek may experience altitude sickness if not properly acclimatization, risk because its highest point, Thorong La Pass, is more than 5,400 meters above sea level. Acclimatizing correctly and being aware of altitude sickness symptoms is crucial.

Trek cost

$800-$1300. depending on service level and trek duration

$750- 1600 depending on Hotel category, duration and service level


Ground Transportation Kathmandu to Arkhet (Around 5 hrs) and Dharapani to Beshisahar to Kathmandu (Around 7 hrs)

Kathmandu to Beshisahar Ground Transport (Around 5 hrs) Besishahar to Chame Jeep Drive 4hrs and Jomsom to Pokhara (Either flight 20m or 7 hrs drive) Similarly Pokhara to Kathmandu 20m Flight or 6hrs Drive

Trekking routes

The trek starts in the town of Arkhet follows the Budigandaki River and passes through traditional Gurung and Tibetan villages, lush forests, and high alpine meadows before reaching the Larkya La pass, which offers stunning views of the Himalayas.

The trek then descends to the village of Dharapani before ending in the city of Besisahar.

The trek leaves from the town of Besishahar and follows the Marsyangdi River, passing through Magar and Gurung traditional villages, lush subtropical forests, and terraced rice fields. After that, the trail ascends to the Thorong La pass, which provides breathtaking views of the Dhaulagiri and Annapurna mountain ranges. The journey ends in the city of Jomsom after passing the pass and descending to the revered Muktinath.

Best time for the Trek

September to November and March to May

September to November and March to May

Weather and Temperature on the trek

During the September-November period, the weather is generally dry and clear, making it the best time to trek in the region. The temperature during the day is mild, but it can get quite cold at night.

During the March-May period, the weather is mild and the rhododendron flowers are in full bloom, making the trek an even more beautiful experience. However, it can be quite wet during this time, and trekkers should be prepared for rain and snow.

During the months of September to November and March to May, the weather is generally clear with good visibility, and moderate temperatures.

During the winter months, the temperatures can drop significantly, with heavy snowfall at higher elevations, making the trek challenging.

During the monsoon season, from June to August, the region receives heavy rainfall, making the trail muddy and slippery, and visibility may be poor. It's also the time when leeches are seen on the trail.

Facilities in the Trek

Food: Food can be found at guesthouses and teahouses along the trail, but options may be limited and more basic compared to what you would find in a city.

Accommodation: Guesthouses and teahouses provide accommodation along the trail, but they may be more basic and less comfortable than what you would find in a hotel.

Electricity: Electricity may not be readily available in more remote areas of the trek, but some guesthouses may have a generator or solar power.

Internet: Internet access is not widely available on the trail, and connection may be slow or non-existent in more remote areas.

Hot Shower: Hot showers may not be available in more remote areas of the trail.

Laundry: Laundry services may be available at some guesthouses, but it's best to bring enough clothes for the duration of the trek.

Drinking water: Drinking water is available from streams and rivers, but it's recommended to use a water filter or purification tablets.

ATM and Banks: ATMs and banks are not available on the trail, so it's important to bring enough cash for the duration of the trek.

Food: Food options are available in most towns and villages including local Nepali cuisine, as well as Western-style food. However, options may be limited in more remote areas.

Accommodation: Accommodation is available in the form of teahouses and lodges in most towns and villages. 

Electricity and internet: these facilities are available in most places, but they may be limited in more remote areas. Some lodges and teahouses may offer to charge services for a fee.

Hot shower: Hot shower facilities are available in some teahouses and lodges. They may also come at an additional cost.

Laundry: Laundry services are available along the Annapurna Circuit trek, but they may be limited or not available in more remote areas. They may also come at an additional cost.

Drinking water: Drinking water is available in most towns and villages along the Annapurna Circuit trek. 

ATM and Banks: these facilities are available in some places along the trek, but they may be limited or not available in more remote areas.

Preparation required

Physical fitness and proper training

Adequate gear and equipment

Obtaining necessary permits and arranging for a guide and porters

Acclimatization and planning for altitude sickness

Researching and familiarizing with the itinerary, route, and local culture

Obtaining travel and medical insurance

Vaccinations and obtaining necessary medical clearances

Packing appropriate clothing and supplies

Physical fitness


Researching the trek and being familiar with the route, facilities, and weather conditions can help you prepare better.

Mental preparation

Obtain necessary permits: 


Hiring a guide can be helpful because Guides will help you navigate the route, provide information about the area, and deal with any issues that may arise.

Packing list for the Trek

Hiking boots

Warm and waterproof clothing and shoes

Sleeping bag and sleeping mat

Headlamp or flashlight

Water bottles and water purification tablets

First-aid kit and personal medication

Sunscreen and sunglasses

Hat or beanie

Warm gloves and thermal layers

Down jacket

Rain gear

Personal hygiene items

Camera and extra batteries

Cash and credit card

Travel documents and permits

Warm clothing

Rain gear: Waterproof jacket and pants, poncho, or umbrella.

Hiking gear: Hiking boots, hiking poles, gaiters.

Sleeping gear: Sleeping bag, sleeping pad, and a liner.

Headlamp and spare batteries.

First aid kit

Personal hygiene items: Toothbrush, toothpaste, wet wipes, hand sanitizer, and toilet paper.

Sunscreen and sunglasses.

Snacks: Energy bars, nuts, dried fruit, and chocolate.

Camera and extra batteries

Passport, permits, and travel insurance documents

Cash and credit cards

Maps and guidebooks


The Manaslu Circuit Trek is a more remote and less traveled route that circles Mount Manaslu, the eighth-highest mountain in the world. It offers challenging terrain, diverse landscapes, and a chance to explore traditional Gurung and Tibetan villages. The trek typically takes around 9-16 days to complete. On the other hand, Annapurna Circuit Trek is a more popular and well-trodden trek that takes trekkers through diverse landscapes, including subtropical forests, alpine meadows, and high-altitude deserts.

Annapurna Circuit Trek typically takes around 10-17 days to complete and offers views of several peaks in the Annapurna range, including Annapurna South, Hiunchuli, and Machhapuchhre (Fishtail). Both treks have their points of attraction and their difficulties.

The trekkers have to choose treks based on their preferences. You can choose either of them since their route is close to each other. Also, it is important to understand that both treks require a good level of fitness and proper equipment, and it is recommended to hire a guide or go with a trekking company.